The offense showed some life, but the effort came up short as pitching once again failed to control the Pirates offense.
The Cardinals played the second game of a four-game set with the Pirates on Friday as Kwang Hyun Kim faced off against Wil Crowe. Both pitchers labored through the early innings, giving up four runs each in four and a third innings for KK and five innings for Crowe. The bullpens were the difference in the game, as Jake Woodford yielded a run after an unfortunate play where Edmundo Sosa’s hamstring appeared to cramp up on him, preventing him from getting even one out on a routine ground ball. On the bright side, the Cards’ offense showed a pulse as Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson both homered, and Lars Nootbaar recorded another RBI. The effort fell short though, as the Redbirds ultimately lost the game 5-4.
Adam Frazier led off for the Pirates, rung up on a 3-2 slider that caught the top of the zone for strike three. Ke’Bryan Hayes slapped a fastball the other way for a one-out single. Bryan Reynolds chopped a fastball to Tommy Edman who made a nice pick and throw to get the lead runner for the second out. Jacob Stallings rolled a slider to Edmundo Sosa for the last out.
Dylan Carlson led off for the Cardinals for the second night in a row and skied a 1-1 curveball to left for the first out. Paul Goldschmidt got ahead 3-0 in the count, but Crowe came back and got him to fly out to left on a 3-2 fastball. Nolan Arenado drew a two-out walk to extend the inning. Tyler O’Neill took a 1-0 fastball to right field for a base hit, allowing Arenado to go first-to-third. Yadier Molina, with runners at the corners, lined out to right to strand both runners.
Phillip Evans chopped a 2-1 slider to second for the first out of the second. Erik Gonzalez shot a fastball back up the middle for a base hit. Ben Gamel flew a slider to left for the second out. Gonzalez swiped second on the curveball to Kevin Newman, but was called out to end the inning after the Cardinals challenged the play, as his lead foot came off the base.
Edman started the bottom of the frame with a swinging strikeout on a curve in the dirt. Lars Noooootbaar tore a fastball between first and second for a single. Sosa reached on an infield single as the Pirates’ shortstop Newman had to dive to his right to just keep the ball in the infield. KK tried to bunt the runners over and on the fourth pitch was hit in the chest by an 81-mph curveball as he pulled back the offer for a HBP. KK remained in the game on first and Carlson, with the bases full, grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice at second as Newman lost the ball on the exchange. Nootbaar scored on the play, giving the Cards an early 1-0 lead. Goldy then hit a sinking line drive to center, where Reynolds made a great diving catch to rob the hit and the RBI to end the inning.
Newman muscled a broken-bat single to center field to begin the third. Crowe moved the runner over with a sac bunt back to KK. Frazier worked a full count and walked on an inside fastball. The first pitch to Hayes got away from Yadi, allowing Neman to advance to third. Hayes, with runners on first and third, dropped a fastball into center field to tie the game 1-1. Reynolds smoked a hard line drive to left for another hit, loading the bases. Stallings chopped out to third, bringing another run home for a 2-1 lead for Pittsburgh. Two more runs scored on the next play to make it 4-1, as Nootbaar failed to come up with a sliding catch on a fly ball from Evans. Evans was caught in between first and second on the play, however, and tagged out after both runs scored to retire the Pirates.
Arenado got a run back with a solo shot into the seats in left field (the 250th of his career), closing the deficit to 4-2.
15th of the season
250th of his career pic.twitter.com/I3cMU2ytJS
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 26, 2021
O’Neill followed the homer with a flyout to left on a 1-0 curveball. Yadi then ripped a fastball down the left field line for a one-out double. After the double, Molina caught the Pirates sleeping and swiped third on a 1-0 curveball to Edman, who was thrown out on a swinging bunt right in front of home.
There’s NOTHING Yadi can’t do pic.twitter.com/x9DUXTOLjO
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 26, 2021
Noooooot came up with another clutch hit, singling into right to score Molina and bring the Cards back within one at 4-3. Sosa grounded out to third to close the frame.
Gonzalez and Gamel both skied pitches to center for the first two outs of the fourth. Newman extended the inning with a double down the third base line that was deflected by a diving Arenado. Crowe made KK work, seeing ten pitches before popping out to second for the last out.
KK led off the fourth with a groundout to Hayes for the first out. Carlson then launched a 3-2 sinker into the Pirates bullpen, tying the game 4-4.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 26, 2021
Goldy followed, chopping a curveball to second for the second out. Arenado ripped a 3-2 fastball just inside third for a double to extend the inning to O’Neill, who walked on four pitches. Yadi, with two on and two outs, popped out to right, leaving both runners on.
Frazier dribbled a ball back to KK for the first out of the fifth, after which KK was pulled in favor of Jake Woodford. Woodford walked Hayes on a 3-2 curveball that missed high. Reynolds grounded a ball to Sosa, who tried to tag out Hayes on the basepath but went down hard as it looked like his hamstring cramped up on him on the play. Stallings, with two on and one out, knocked in Hayes with a single to left to put the Pirates back up 5-4 as Reynolds advanced to third on the play.
Ryan Helsley replaced Woodford after the hit and got Evans to chase a cutter off the plate for the second out. Gonzalez then grounded out to second as Helsley was able to limit the damage.
Edman kicked off the bottom of the frame with a groundout to first. Nootbaar followed suit, chopping a curveball to first. Sosa chased a bad curveball that bounced almost in front of the plate, striking out to end the inning.
Gamel led off the sixth inning with a strikeout, staring at a cutter that caught the outside edge of the plate. Newman drew a walk on five pitches. Colin Moran pinch-hit for Crowe and put a first-pitch fastball into left for a base hit. Shildt then made a double switch, bringing in Genesis Cabrera to pitch and Paul DeJong to play shortstop. Frazier, with two on and one away, grounded out softly to first, advancing the runners. Hayes took a borderline sinker on the inside that edge that went against him for strike three, stranding both runners on base.
Clay Holmes got the call in relief for the sixth inning and retired DeJong on a swinging bunt out in front of the plate. Carlson drew a one-out walk on a 3-2 fastball above the zone. Goldy was frozen by a fastball on the outside corner for the second out. Arenado walked to bring up O’Neill, who struck out waving at an elevated fastball for strike three.
Reynolds went down swinging over a 3-2 sinker. Stallings skied another fastball to right for out number two. Evans chopped a changeup to third to put Pittsburgh down in order.
Yadi chopped an 0-2 fastball to third for the first out in the bottom of the frame. Edman followed, out on yet another swinging bunt in front of the plate. Chasen Shreve replaced Holmes to finish the inning and walked Noooooot to extend the inning. Jose Rondon, pinch-hitting for Cabrera, struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt on the eighth pitch of his at-bat.
Andrew Miller got the call to pitch the eighth for the Cards. Gonzalez grounded out to start the eighth and Gamel flew a first-pitch slider to left for two quick outs. Newman then grounded out to short as Miller sat the Pirates down in order.
Kyle Crick pitched the eighth for the Pirates and gave up a leadoff hit to DeJong. Carlson chopped a ball softly back to the pitcher for a fielder’s choice, moving DeJong into scoring position. Goldschmidt grounded a ball off the pitcher, who kick-saved it and threw to first for out number two as DeJong moved to third.
Arenado walked on four pitches as the Pirates pitched around him, but O’Neill popped out in foul territory to end the Cards’ threat.
Gregory Polanco pinch-hit for Pirates to start the ninth and struck out waving at a 2-2 slider. Frazier got hit in the butt by a fastball that wild, ending the night for Miller. Giovanny Gallegos got the call in relief as Matt Carpenter came in to play second, moving Edman to right and Noots to left. Hayes grounded into a double play to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
Molina opened the bottom of the frame, chasing a slider in the dirt for a strikeout. Edman rolled a soft grounder to second for the second out. Noots went down swinging, giving the Pirates a 5-4 win.
The Cards drop their fifth straight game with the loss, dropping to 36-40 on the season as the Pirates improve to 28-46. The series continues Saturday, with Adam Wainwright taking the bump against JT Brubaker at 1:15 PM CT.
Some good news on the Harrison Bader front, as he’s started his rehab assignment in Palm Beach and will be re-evaluated after the weekend. It remains to be seen how the rotation might be mixed up, as Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas are still far away from returning from their injuries. (Credit to Cardinals.com for the injury updates.)
Final Pitching Lines
Kim: 4.1 IP / 7 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Woodford (L, 1-1): 0 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Helsley: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Cabrera: 1.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Miller: 1.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Gallegos: 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Crowe (W, 1-4): 5 IP / 8 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 2 HR
Holmes: 1.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Shreve (H, 3): 0.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Crick (H, 6): 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Rodriguez (S, 10): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR