Game 131 Recap: Berkman’s Blast is the Difference

The Pirates failed to hold onto a couple of leads as St. Louis captured the second game of the series. Lance Berkman hit a two run blast off Jose Veras in the eighth to give the Cards their first lead of the game at 5-4. And that was how it stayed.

Pittsburgh didn damage to St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook from the opening bell. Jose Tabata walked. Alex Presley doubled him to third. Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Doumit followed with RBI singles. Josh Harrison hit a sac fly to score the third run of the game.

After a 1-2-3 first, Bucs starter James McDonald hit a snag in the second. Berkman walked to start the inning. David Freese hit a one out single. Yadier Molina poked a homer to even the score at three. That was all St. Louis would get against McDonald. He would allow just three more hits and no runners would get to third against him the rest of the game.

The Pirates took a tenuous lead in teh fourth. Ronny Cedeno reached on an infield single and was bunted to second by McDonald. Tabata came through with a two out double to put Pitsburgh up 4-3.

McDonald was lifted in the seventh after giving up a lead off single to Rafael Furcal. Jason Grilli retired the next three Cardinals without incident. Jose Veras started the eighth with a whiff of Albert Pujols. But he walked Matt Holliday, bringing Berkman to the plate. His homer gave St. Louis a one run lead.

Kyle McClellan retired the Pirates in order in both the eighth and ninth innings to earn the win and close it out.

McDonald gave up five hits and three runs in six plus innings. He gave up three walks and he struck out five. Westbrook also went six. He was tagged for seven hits and four runs. He struck out three Pirates and walked five. Veras took the loss.

The Good
McDonald was solid.

McCutchen had three hits.

The Bad
Giving up another lead in the late innings.

The Rest
McDonald is 2-1 against St. Louis. Westbrook is 0-3 against Pittsburgh. McClellan is 2-0 against Pittsburgh now.

This was the eleventh time in 2011 that McCutchen has had three hits. It was his first three hit game since July 28th.

Molina has three homers against Pittsburgh in 2011.

Grilli has gone seven straight appearances without allowing a run. That span covers nine innings. During those appearances he has given up just two hits and three walks while striking out eleven.

Berkman’s homer was his 30th on the year. Is he Comeback Player of the Year? Yes. It’d be interesting to replay this season with a healthy Adam Wainwright. There would at least be a pennant race in the NL Central.

It was throw back jersey night for the Cardinals to coincide with Willie McGee bobblehead night. Not sure why the Pirates didn’t wear the throwback jerseys, too.