Cardinals Too Powerful For Bucs, Win Game One 8-4

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat
After a 5-5 home stand, including a series split against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Pirates kicked off their road trip tonight in the first of four games against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. 
Both teams had been struggling coming into this series, as the Cardinals and Pirates trailed the first place Brewers in the N.L. Central by 10 and 15 ½ games respectively.  Pittsburgh returned to Busch Stadium tonight for the first time since the second series of the season back in April, when they took two of three games from the Cardinals. 
The Pirates and Cardinals battled back and forth for the better part of the game, but in the end, it was the Red Birds’ powerful offensive attack that was the difference, as they took game one of the series tonight by a final score of 8-4.
Charlie Morton made the start tonight and certainly didn’t pitch his best, giving up five runs on nine hits through 4.1 innings of work.  His ERA continues to rise, now sitting at 3.62.
St. Louis took the lead in the first inning when Allen Craig and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back doubles to put the Cardinals on the board, 1-0.  Lance Berkman’s RBI single scored Pujols, and the Bucs trailed by two runs after the first inning.
Skip Schumaker’s RBI single in the second inning scored Rafael Furcal, and the Cardinals looked as if they were going to run away with the game against Morton.
The Pirates battled back in the third inning, thanks, in large part, to Cardinals’ starter Edwin Jackson’s control problems.  After Michael McKenry reached on an error to lead off the inning, Morton sacrificed him over to second base.  With two outs, Alex Presley, who was recalled earlier in the day from Indianapolis, singled home McKenry to get the Bucs on the board.  After Jackson walked Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker to load the bases, Garrett Jones delivered a big two-run single on a full count to tie the game, 3-3.
McKenry’s RBI double in the fourth scored Ronny Cedeno, who led off the inning with a double of his own.  The Pirates owned a 4-3 advantage.
The Cardinals regained the lead in the fifth inning on a two-run single by David Freese, which scored Craig and Pujols. 
The best chance for the Pirates to tie things up came in the eighth inning.  Jones led off with a single, and Xavier Paul, who was called in to pinch run, stole second base.  With a runner in scoring position and no outs, the Bucs were unable to bring the tying run across the plate. 
St. Louis added three insurance runs in the bottom half of the eighth to seal the victory.  After John Jay reached base with a double, Puljos was intentionally walked for the second time in the game, putting two runners on with two outs.  Matt Holiday crushed a three-run homerun off Tony Watson to extend the lead to 8-4.
This was certainly not the way the Pirates wanted to start this road trip.  The Bucs aren’t going to out-hit too many teams in this league, and that definitely includes the Cardinals, who, when at their best, can hit with the top teams in baseball. 
While Morton didn’t have his best game, the bullpen didn’t exactly hold up their end of the bargain either.  Watson gave up the big three-run shot in the eighth which effectively put the game out of reach.
Chris LeRoux pitched very well in relief, giving up just one hit in his 2.2 innings of work.  Garrett Jones continued his hot streak at the plate, going 2-4 with a double, single, a walk, and two RBI’s.  In his return to the club, Alex Presley had an RBI single, while Michael McKenry added two hits and an RBI of his own.
Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, and Neil Walker went a combined 0-10.  Tabata’s hitting streak ended at 10 games.
The Pirates will try to get back on the winning track tomorrow evening at Busch Stadium.  James McDonald will start for Pittsburgh, opposed by the Cardinals’ Jake Westbrook.
Record Vs. Cardinals: 5-5
Record Vs. N.L. Central: 30-29
Record On The Road: 30-32
Overall Record: 61-69
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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