Well, any momentum that the Pirates had before the weekend was completely diminished by the time they left St. Louis. The Cardinals dominated the Pirates at Busch Stadium, something they have done consistently for years.
Friday, July 30: After a two and a half hour rain delay, the Pirates and Cardinals began their 3 game series at Busch Stadium. Both pitching staffs brought their “A” games. Buccos’ starter Jeff Karstens pitched 6 innings of shutout baseball, while Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan also pitched 3 innings combined of zero hit ball. Unfortunately, Javier Lopez couldn’t do the same, giving up 1 run on 2 hits in the bottom of the 10th as the Cardinals defeated the Pirates in the first game of the series, 1-0.
Cardinals’ starter Chris Carpenter was superb, giving up only 5 hits and 3 walks through 8 innings, while lowering his ERA to 2.93. Lastings Milledge was the only Pirate to tally a multi-hit evening, with the club only managing 5 hits total. While it was a difficult loss for the Buccos to endure, one couldn’t help but have some hope that the Pirates were ready for a hard-fought series against their Central Division foes.
Saturday, July 31: The second game of the series started out bad for the Pirates and ended up embarrassing, as the Cardinals pounded Daniel McCutchen and our Buccos for 15 hits at Busch Stadium, taking game 2 by a final score of 11-1.
Colby Rasmus went 2-4 with 1 HR and 3 RBI, while Albert Pujols also went deep for St. Louis. After tallying a run here, two runs there, throughout the majority of the game, the Cardinals broke it way open in the 8th for five runs.
The Pirates did manage 8 hits for the evening, including Jose Tabata’s trio of knocks and Andrew McCutchen’s pair. Jeff Clement provided the only running scoring play of the game for the Buccos, absolutely hammering a pitch in the 8th inning.
Sunday, August 1: For the 3rd straight game, the Pirates’ offense was absent, and for the second straight day, the Cardinals offense was unstoppable, as St. Louis finished the Buccos off with a 9-1 beating and sweeping Pittsburgh at Busch Stadium.
Zach Duke was the victim on Sunday, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits through 5 innings, inflating his ERA to 5.36, while losing his 10th game of the season. His mound opponent, Adam Wainwright, gave up only 1 hit through 7 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.19.
Jose Tabata and Lastings Milledge each had 2 hits in the losing effort, but the Pirates never had a chance to keep up with the overwhelming power of Mr. Albert Pujols and the Cardinals.
So after a great start to the road trip, the Pirates finished up their trek away from the PNC Park in extremely and utterly familiar territory: losing. The Buccos finished the road trip at 2-4, and return to PNC Park for two more tough series against the Cincinnati Reds and once again, the Colorado Rockies.
Current Record: 36-68
And…As Always…Let’s Go Bucs!