Final: Pirates 4, Cardinals 3
WP: Joe Beimel (1-1)
LP: Jason Motte (3-2)
Xavier Paul entered the game in the 9th inning as part of a double switch. It would prove to be a great move by Clint Hurdle.
Any time the Cardinals would score, the Pirates had an answer as the Cards gave up 3 different one run leads throughout the game, none of which lasted more than 2 innings.
Eric Fryer played an exceptional game behind the plate as he picked off Gerald Laird at 2nd base on a failed bunt attempt and also caught John Jay stealing 2nd thanks to a pitch-out. He also went 2 for 4 at the plate with 2 infield singles. Ronny Cedeno also went 2 for 4 and scored 2 runs following both of his hits, which were both opposite field doubles.
Morton didn’t have his A-game today and was doomed thanks to 5 walks and 2 wild pitches. He ended up giving up 3 runs over 5 1/3 innings.
The Pirates’ bullpen really did their part as Jason Grilli, Chris Resop, Joel Hanrahan, and Joe Beimel would combine for 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
As mentioned before, Xavier Paul was the deciding factor in this game thanks to his hustle and speed. With 1 out in the 10th inning, he hit a chopper to 1st and beat pitcher Jason Motte to the bag. He then stole 2nd base and advanced to 3rd as the throw went into shallow center field. Chase d’Arnaud would then hit a line drive to shallow center, which Paul would tag up and score on to end the game.
If there ever was a must win game, this one was it. It capped off a 3-3 home stand and tied the Cardinals for 2nd in the NL Central. If Milwaukee loses later today, there would then be a 3-way tie for first place.
The Bucs travel to Atlanta tomorrow to face the Braves. The game will be on ESPN for those who can’t get Root Sports. It will be the start of a huge road trip where they will face two red-hot teams as they go to Philadelphia after 4 with the Braves.