It would’ve been sweet to win four in a row and hang a loss on St. Louis during a Chris Carpenter start. Didn’t happen and mistakes were to blame.
It started early and continued late in the game. The Pirates employed a shift against both Ryan Ludwick and Yadier Molina in the first inning. Both singled throught he spot that Aki Iwamura normally would’ve been stationed at. Problem was, Molina’s single came with the bases loaded and two outs and knocked in two runs. Bigger problem was Ronny Cedeno threw wildly on a groundball that would’ve ended the inning, helping load the bases and setting the state for Molina. That’s two unearned runs charged to Zach Duke.
A 4th inning Lastings Milledge RBI single pushed the Pirates closer. But in the sixth Molina reached on an error from Andy LaRoche. He scored on a two out single from Skip Schumaker. Another unearned run. The Pirates pulled to within 3-2 quickly as Ryan Doumit doubled home Andrew McCutchen in the sixth.
In the 8th inning the Pirates put four of the first five hitters on base safely and managed not to score any runs as a result. LaRoche and McCutchen singled. Garrett Jones grounded back to the pitcher, Trever Miller. He froze LaRoche between third and home. During the ensuing rundown, McCutchen and LaRoche wound up on third base. By right, Cutch was out. But LaRoche also stepped off the bag and a very alert Molina tagged him out. Double play. The Pirates loaded the bases thanks to consecutive HBP. The tying run scored on a wild pitch from Ryan Franklin. Oh, what might’ve been.
In the 9th, pinch runner Joe Mather stole second even though Doumit’s throw to Iwamura beat him. Mather pulled his left hand back and extended his right hand forward to touch the bag before the tag could be applied. Easily the most effective use of the Hokey Pokey ever. Molina, of course, later doubled him in.
That made a winner of Franklin despite his wild pitch. Evan Meek was the loser. The pitching staff deserved better.
Duke gave up zero earned runs (three total) in 6-1/3. He struck out seven. Carpenter allowed two runs over seven innings. He struck out 8.
Is it a moral victory to almost beat the Cardinals when Carpenter is starting?
McCutchen had three hits.
Holding Albert Pujols hitless.
Ugh. The miscues.
Losing one that should’ve been won.
Duke reached seven whiffs for the first time since 9/15/09. That was just the third time Duke reached seven whiffs in the last four years.
Carpenter is 11-1 in his career against the Pirates. He has not lost to them since 2004. He had won every outing against them since 2005.
Molina had four hits, tying his career mark which he has now accomplished six times.
For the second time this year and the second time in three games, the Pirates drew no walks.