by Zane Heiple
|Photo by AP
While the Pittsburgh Pirates have improved in many areas this year, the one area that still has much room for improvement is the ability to hit the home run. The lack of home runs is why the Buccos need to add a bat before the trade deadline if they hope to contend in the N.L. Central. The St. Louis Cardinals showed what can happen when you have power in the lineup as they would hit three long balls to give them a 6-4 edge over the Pirates.
The first two HR for the Cards came in the first inning off of starter Paul Maholm. After Garrett Jones narrowly missed a ball at the Clemente wall, Albert Pujols would hit a two run shot to centerfield. With two outs, Lance Berkman would double and then be brought home on a David Freese homer to right field.
Pittsburgh answered with two runs in the second. Jones would double and then score when Ronny Cedeno singled. Maholm would help his own cause by singling home Cedeno. While the run scored, the first of two costly base running errors would occur as Michael McKenry would be tagged out trying to return to second base.
St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter was excellent at the plate tonight as he would go 2-4 and drive in a run during the third inning after the batter in front of him, Nick Punto was intentionally walked. Carpenter would go eight innings allowing four runs on ten hits, while striking out four and walking one.
The Buccos cut into the lead again in the sixth inning when Jones would bring in two runs, but would be thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. This proved costly as the two batters after him singled, meaning that the game could have been tied at five, instead of the Cards leading 5-4.
The final home run came in the eighth inning when Yadier Molina went deep off of Pirates reliever Chris Resop.
This was the second game in a row that the Pirates hurt themselves with costly mistakes. Tonight it was poor pitch location against a team that has power in their lineup and poor choices on the base paths that possibly cost the team runs. The loss tonight makes tomorrow night’s game even more important to win so that Pittsburgh has a chance of winning this series on Sunday. Tomorrow night’s game is scheduled for 7:05. The Buccos will send Kevin Correia to the bump, while the Cards will counter with Jaime Garcia.
Record vs. Cardinals: 2-2
Record vs. N.L. Central: 24-15
Record at Home: 25-24
Overall Record: 51-46
Let’s Go Bucs!!!