Pirates Even Series With Cardinals After a Strong Start From Gerrit Cole

The Pirates defeated St. Louis tonight by the score of 5-2, cutting the Cardinals’ division lead back to 4.5 games.

Gerrit Cole pitched seven innings giving up six hits, two walks and struck out three batters. The only damage the Cardinals inflicted onto Cole was a two-run homer hit by Matt Carpenter in the third inning. After Carpenter’s home run, Cole shut the Cardinals down for the next four innings, giving the Pirates a chance to make their comeback.

Cole’s three strikeouts were a season-low, but he was still able to get the job done and induce soft contact that included 12 ground ball outs.

“I didn’t think I had my best stuff,” Cole said after the game. “Part of the reason for not a lot of strikeouts is because [the Cardinals are as] stubborn as ever at the plate. They don’t expand the zone – they are very smart hitters.”

The story of the game, though, was the Pirates ability to finally take advantage of their offensive opportunities, something that they’ve struggled to do this season against the Cardinals.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn did not have his usual command tonight and the Pirates made him pay for it, scoring five runs and knocking him out of the game after only four innings of work.

“We really tried to put it in a very small area once we felt he wasn’t on top of his game,” Hurdle said “If he was going to paint, he was going to paint and we were going to look pretty much [in the middle of the plate] and see where that took us.”

The knockout blow came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Lance Lynn elevated a fastball that sailed into the middle of the plate, and Neil Walker deposited the ball into the right-center field seats for two-run homer, extending the lead to 5-2.

That was all the Pirates’ needed, as Cole was able to grab control of the game, followed by a scoreless inning each by Tony Watson and Mark Melancon.

Key Moment: In the bottom of the third inning, the Pirates were able to respond to Matt Carpenter’s two-run homer by starting a rally of their own. After Jung Ho Kang tied the game with an RBI single to left, the Pirates had runners on first and second and one out. Jordy Mercer hit a ground ball toward the shortstop, a ball that looked to be a tailor-made double-play ball. The ball struck Neil Walker in the foot as he was running towards third base, erasing the possible double-play and keeping the inning alive. Alvarez followed with a base hit to left-center field, scoring Kang and giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. The Pirates never looked back.

Player of the Game: Neil Walker went three-for-four with a home run, two RBIs, two runs scored and some timely usage of his right foot.

  • Tim et al- love the big show game recap coverage as well. Nice perspective. Keep up the great work.

    • Agreed………….Big game recap is a bonus. I was there last night and it was clear both teams went to the plate last night committed to taking pitches, swinging only at strikes and elevating the pitch count. Kang is better at that than Harrison and the Pirates lineup as a whole was very disciplined at the plate. Cole really projects leadership and toughness on the mound. On the negative side Polanco was sloppy in the field and almost took one off the noggin at the beginning when he misplayed a catchable ball to the wall.

  • If Russell Martin got hit with a ground ball running to third in a DP situation, I’d conclude it was intent. If Polanco got hit, I’d conclude it was an accident. With Walker… I’m not sure 🙂

  • Nice to see the pirates not beat themselves against the cards. No mental errors or bad plays tonight meant the pirates were in the game win or lose. Good job bucco’s, keep it up.

    • You’re too kind to them. Kang pickoff. Polanco play off the wall. Ishikawa misplay… there’s still room for improvement.

      Where’s our Tommy Pham?

      Seems Dan Johnson’s 12 pitch AB wasn’t an aberration.

      Anyone else thinking Ish was acquired just for this series?

      • Our Tommy Pham? Deibinson Romero who is now gone?

        • Good point.

          • For a contending team like the Pirates to give up Romero so that he could go overseas and play is/was baffling to me. Yes, he wasn’t likely to crack our starting lineup, but you look at his numbers in AAA: a 1:1 bb:k ratio, a .950 OPS, and 19 xbh in 126 ABs…that’s the exact type of depth option that you want for this team. Tommy Pham wasn’t putting up any better numbers in the PCL, which is a much more hitter-friendly league.

      • Dan Johnson isnt good, its just grass is greener stuff to act like he is a good value at 1B. For all his crap, Ishikawa was a not awful hitter overall last year at 100 wRC+. Dan Johnson is bad, and its a testament to how badly STL should be looking for 1B help during the deadline.

        A few long at bats doesnt give him a ton of value on offense at 1B.