Before anything else, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Pirates will need to win their final 14 games to avoid being below .500 for the 19th straight season. We all knew this day was coming. It doesn’t make it any easier, especially given that the Pirates allowed two ninth inning runs and lost a run due to a blown call by the third base ump Sam Holbrook.
It didn’t start well as Jeff Karstens gave up three runs in the second inning. Yadier Molina hit a ground rule double that scored Lance Berkman and moved Ski Schumaker to third. Daniel Descalso was given a free pass to bring up Chris Carpenter. But he singled in two runs and it was 3-0 Cards.
Pittsburgh got one run back and could’ve added more in the second. Singles from Derrek Lee, Garrett Jones and Ryan Ludwick loaded the bases with one down. Albert Pujols mishandled a grounder from Josh Harrison and everyone was safe with one run in. But Karstens whiffed and so did Pedro Ciriaco.
Derrek Lee hit a solo jack in the third to make it 3-2. St. Louis got that run back in the fifth when Rafael Furcal singled and stole second. He scored on a double from John Jay.
Pittsburgh’s fifth was controversial. Ciriaco and Neil Walker both reached on infield singles. They moved up a base on a ground out from Andrew McCutchen. Lee’s shallow fly ball to Berkman in right was enough to get Ciriaco home. But Holbrook, upon appeal, ruled that Ciriaco left early. So, Lee’s fly ball became an inning ending double play. Replays showed Holbrook was not only wrong but also out of position to make the call. Yikes.
Pittsburgh made another gaffe in the sixth. Ryan Doumit walked. Jones reached on Pujols’ second error of the game. On the same play, an errant throw by Pujols allowed Doumit to get to third. Ryan Ludwick whiffed for the first out of the inning. Josh Harrison’s fly ball to Berkman wasn’t deep enough to send Doumit home, but Jones for some reason left first and was eventually tagged out to end the inning.
Thankfully, McCutchen came through with a two run bomb with two gone in the seventh to even the score at four.
The Pirates would get no more. Hanrahan was on for the ninth in a tie game. He gave up a one out single to Descalso. He was replaced by a pinch runner – Tyler Greene. Nick Punto’s double brought Greene around to score. Furcal reached on an error from Ciriaco. Jay singled to load the bases. Pujols lofted a sac fly to give St. Louis a two run lead.
Jason Motte made it interesting in the ninth. Harrison and pinch hitter Pedro Alvarez both singled to lead off. Ciriaco bunted into a fielder’s choice, but Walker hit into a game ending 6-4-3 double play.
Karstens allowed the first four St. Louis runs in 4-1/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and two walks. He whiffed a pair of Cards. Carpenter gave up ten hits and four runs in seven innings. He whiffed six and walked just one. Hanrahan was the loser. Kyl McClellan got the final out in the eighth for the win. Motte got his sixth save on the year.
Ciriaco had two hits. So did Lee.
Daniel Moskos, Jared Hughes and Jose Veras tossed 3-2/3 innings of one hit relief.
Ciriaco was caught stealing and also committed an error.
Getting worked over by the umps.
Giving up two runs in the ninth.
Carpenter’s career mark against Pittsburgh remains 12-3. Two of those losses came earlier this year. Karstens is still 1-2 versus St. Louis.
Congrats to Tim Wakefield on his 200th win. Wakey won his first 14 with Pittsburgh and the rest since 1995 with Boston. The top Pirate winner since 1995? Paul Maholm with 53 wins. In fact, if you added up the Pirates top four winners since 1995 and you wouldn’t get to 200 – Maholm (53), Zach Duke (45), Jason Schmidt (44) and Kris Benson (43). By my math that is 185 wins.
Clint Hurdle was tossed after getting a chance to watch the replay of Ciriaco getting called out.