Pirates Beat the Cardinals 7-1 to Even the Series

1380127_557902740931642_549484123_nIn a noble quest for more pageviews, we present our Pirates Prospects liveblog of NLDS Game 2.

Wait, let me try that again.

To better serve our wonderful readers who may not be able to watch this playoff game due to: not having MLB Network, working, not having MLB Network, etc., we present our Pirates liveblog of NLDS Game 2.

It’s me, James Santelli, and Tim Williams providing updates throughout the afternoon when 140 characters will simply not suffice.

We join this game already in progress…

12:22 pm CT - (James) In a bit of breaking news, Carlos Beltran is good at hitting baseballs. The man who hit the three-run homer yesterday just collected St. Louis’ first hit on a long double off the right-center-field wall.

12:25 pm CT - (James) Gerrit Cole gets out of the first inning with a pair of fly-ball outs. If Cole is over-excited by the setting and magnitude of his first playoff start, it’s not showing up in the velocity. At times he could start games in the high-90s, but Cole began today around 95 mph before cranking it up to 97 later in the first.

12:34 pm CT - (James) I noted earlier on this site that Cardinals starter Lance Lynn does not get a huge number of whiffs on his breaking balls. And then he goes and strikes out four of the first seven Pirates hitters on curveballs. Okey-doke.

12:35 pm CT - (Tim) It’s going to be a tough day for the outfielders, as we’ve seen early on. Jon Jay had trouble with Pedro Alvarez’s double, and Yadier Molina had issues with a pop up behind home plate. The sun is overhead and slightly behind home plate, while the sky is a light blue/white mixture. It’s going to be tough to pick up the ball with that going on.

12:39 pm CT – (James) PIRATES 1, CARDINALS 0. Lance Lynn intentionally walked Jordy Mercer to get to Gerrit Cole with two outs. Big mistake. Well, a moderately-sized mistake. Cole grounds an RBI single up the middle to score Pedro Alvarez, who reached on a double/Jon Jay route screwup.

12:45 pm CT - (James) Gerrit Cole is throwing a lot of cutters to left-handers, and he relied heavily on it against lefty Jon Jay. Perhaps Cole is hoping the action on the pitch will run into lefties and get weak contact. It’s working so far — two shutout frames for the Pirates starter.

12:55 pm CT - (Tim) PIRATES 3, CARDINALS 0.  Pedro Alvarez hits a two run homer to center, two batters after Justin Morneau hit an opposite field single. That’s the second homer of the series for Alvarez, who many said was the key to this series for the Pirates, due to the lack of left-handed pitchers in St. Louis. In the last two years, Alvarez has 32 homers during the day, which ranks second in baseball to Miguel Cabrera.

12:57 pm CT - (Tim) After Pedro’s home run, the Cardinals went to the bullpen and got Shelby Miller warming up. Lance Lynn got out of the inning with no further damage. That’s the point I was making last night about Burnett. You need to have a guy warming up in that situation. Best case is what we saw: Lynn gets out of it and you sit Miller down. But if Lynn continues to struggle, you can bring Miller in to pitch and limit the damage while keeping the game close.

1:02 pm CT - (James) While Tim provides substantive analysis, this is my contribution:

Enjoy Costas on the play-by-play, everyone.

1:06 pm CT - (James) Gerrit Cole is playing with fire right now, in more ways than one. His fastball is being elevated, which was common for Cole in college and the minors. That can lead to Cole being smacked around, but he has gotten lucky in that all of the hard hits (save Carlos Beltran’s double) have found gloves in the outfield. But the high heat can also turn hitters around, like the 98-mph fastball to get Matt Carpenter at the end of the 3rd.

1:12 pm CT - (James) Don’t let it be lost that Lance Lynn is actually pitching pretty well. He has five strikeouts through four innings, is locating pretty well and the first run he allowed was really a seeing-eye single from Cole. But one mistake can be enough to ruin a start, and Lynn’s was elevating a 1-0 fastball to Pedro Alvarez.

1:18 pm CT - (Tim) Gerrit Cole just got Matt Holliday looking on a 97 MPH fastball below the knees. It looked like a ball, but Russell Martin quickly brought it back up to the strike zone. Looks like the Pirates benefitted from Martin’s frame work there. Cole has allowed one hit through four innings. In those four innings he has thrown 51 pitches, while Lance Lynn has thrown 70.

1:26 pm CT - (James) PIRATES 4, CARDINALS 0 Justin Morneau gets things going in the 5th inning with a double off the left-center-field wall. Justin Morneau will never be allowed to homer as a Pirate. Then Marlon Byrd knocks him in with a ground-rule double.

1:31 pm CT - (Tim) PIRATES 5, CARDINALS 0 Seth Maness came in to replace Lance Lynn after Lynn worked around Pedro Alvarez with a four pitch walk. Then Maness gave up an RBI single to Russell Martin. The Cardinals had Shelby Miller warming up in the bullpen, and he could come on next.

1:41 pm CT - (Tim) PIRATES 5, CARDINALS 1 Yadier Molina hit a solo homer to put the Cardinals on the board. This is looking like the opposite of yesterday’s game. One team gets out to a big lead and their starter dominates. Other team counters with a solo homer in the fifth inning.

1:45 pm CT - (Tim) Coming into this game, my biggest concern was that Gerrit Cole was beating up on bad teams in September. So far today: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. He’s definitely holding his own against the Cardinals. He’s also making a strong case to be the game five starter, if there is a game five.

2:03 pm CT - (James) Sorry for the delay in updates. Tim has been clicked into it for a while and I thought he was writing. Silly me.

Please don’t fire me.

2:05 pm CT - (James) Large Adron Chambers flies out to the warning track. Again, Gerrit Cole has been elevating fastballs all game long, but the Cardinals still only have two hits. There is some luck there mixed with effectiveness. Pirates’ bullpen starting to move as Cole is past the 70-pitch mark in the 6th.

2:15 pm CT - (Tim) Gerrit Cole froze Carlos Beltran on a 3-2 pitch with a 98 MPH two seam fastball that cut back on the inside part of the plate. Second time he’s frozen a Cardinals hitter today on a 3-2, 98 MPH pitch. He’s at 86 pitches and Tony Watson is warming up, so he could be done. If he is, Cole leaves with 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR.

2:24 pm CT – (James) PIRATES 6, CARDINALS 1 on a sacrifice fly to score Marlon Byrd. And leave Cole will. Gaby Sanchez bats for Cole in the 7th, and Tony Watson will come on in relief.

2:35 pm CT - (James) I’ve poked fun at St. Louis fans on Twitter this afternoon, but I’ll give them some props. The Cardinals are down five runs in the 7th, but the ballpark is still packed and pretty loud, and the noise amps up with any run-scoring opportunity. The “best fans in baseball” meme is overdone, but these people know how to treat the playoffs.

2:38 pm CT - (James) Tony Watson gets in a little bit of danger in the 7th on a single and a walk, but he escapes by taking a ground ball himself and tagging out Daniel Descalso. The Pirates are six outs from evening the series.

2:44 pm CT - (James) PIRATES 7, CARDINALS 1 Hey, cut Shelby Miller a slice of that run allowance! Miller leaves a juicy high fastball to his first batter, Starling Marte, who clobbers it 413 feet for a solo homer.

2:57 pm CT – (James) And now they are three outs away, said Mark Melancon.

3:08 pm CT - (James) Jason Grilli gives up a one-out double off the wall to Matt Adams, who is a large human being. Now the tying run is… still very far from being important.

PIRATES WIN PIRATES WIN 7-1

The Bucs and Cardinals will go back to Pittsburgh with the series all tied up. More to come from Busch Stadium.

James Santelli

Author: James Santelli

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

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  • leadoff

    Strange how Matheny’s pitcher gives up 3 runs and the bullpen gets up even with the bottom of the Pirate order due up.
    Also it looks to me like if the Pirates lay off of Lynns breaking ball and just sit fast ball they should knock him out of the box.

  • IC Bob

    Great bounce back by the Bucs. Good to see Pedro hitting again.

    • rsborelli

      Noticed some much better ABs out of Pedro since the playoffs started. Even that GB off of Siegrist to move the runner over to third, which led to a run. Would almost rather see him back in the cleanup spot. Good to see Morneau finally drive a ball today, but those are few and far between, unfortunately. Just seems to have little in his bat at this point. I get the veteran thing and working an at bat, but he needs to get driving the ball more often. Otherwise, maybe give Pedro a shot back there again.

  • thecobra39

    Incredible recovery by the Bucs. Shown all year long that they can get back up from a bad game/bad series. Cole was outstanding. And how about El Toro! What an amazing season by Pedro.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andy.prough.3 Andy Prough

      Does the Marlyn Bird signing remind you at all of the Bill Madlock signing in the summer of ’79?

  • thecobra39

    I cannot describe how happy I am about the game today, and the whole season in general. Down to a best-of-three series, and we have some guys swinging some confident bats, and our ace is going in game number three. What a fun freaking ride it has been this season.

  • IC Bob

    We can all come in from the ledge. My take away is that Cole is (not going to be) the real deal. When you throw 100 in the 6th inning you can make mistakes in location. When he has his curve going (which I thought his was average today) he is unhittable. Glad Clint dumped Barmes today I can see him with Lirano since he is an extreme ground ball pitcher but its tough watching him put up putrid AB after putrid AB.

    • rsborelli

      Cole reached back for something extra at even remote chance of getting dicey. I was concerned early, because I thought his stuff looked a little flat. I don’t think he was at his absolute best today. Didn’t seem to have that real nasty snap on his breaking pitches. But…. he really mixed in his change nicely. Plus, that back-up 98mph heater to get Beltran looking in the sixth was just sick! Then ran full to Holliday, but basically turned his bat into a wet dish towel on that 100 mph heater. Noticed Cole seeming to shake off Martin quite a bit in that inning, as well. This guy is special! With the way he pitches regardless of venue, dare I call him the ace of this staff?

  • IC Bob

    I see Moore the starter for Tampa gave up 7 runs. I wonder if everyone here thinks they should hang the manager in Tampa? Actually there probably was even a better reason for Moore to have been gone since his meltdown stretched over 1+ innings and he got rock for a double and a Homer right after giving up 5 runs the previous inning.

    • leadoff

      Madden is a another manager that drives me crazy, I have seen several of their games this year and I don’t know how he does it and I don’t know how they do it, nothing impressive about them, they just find a way to win. I watched them in Florida this year and in ST you can see that they do have pitching talent.

    • Andrew

      I agree with your general point that manager are easy scapegoat fodder for fans. However the comparison to Rays game falls apart when you consider that in the 4th inning Moore was in no 3 ball counts and the runs were the product of utterly inept defense and a passed ball on a strikeout. Hurdle deserves criticism for what he did not do yesterday, it’s not panicking, you need to give your team a chance to win. Burnett could not locate a damn thing, there is a big difference between 3-0 or 4-0 and 7-0.

  • leadoff

    I think there is much to much talk about the advantage that the Pirates have with Liriano pitching on Sunday and I agree that they do have the advantage, but only if Liriano is sharp, when he is not he is very hittable and the Cards pounce on bad pitching. As we have seen there is no bail out plan from Hurdle if Liriano has one of his clinkers, we will just give the game away.

    • IC Bob

      What bail out plan could Hurdle have that would work? The reality is if your starter throws a clunker, your going to lose 19 out of 20 times. As a manager you don’t want to to show panic to your team. I see that in Atl. every year and the team panics right after the manager.

    • thecobra39

      I know, I for one, am not saying the game is a lock because we have Liriano going, but I’m sure pretty damn happy to see him going in such a big game. Pedro and company are going to have to pick him up, as we’ve struggled against Kelly this year, but hopefully that can happen.