It was a week of firsts for the Cardinals, both good and bad. The good–Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright won his first game this week, getting an offensive outburst by his teammates, something he had been lacking in his other starts. The bad—the Cardinals lost three games in a row, for the first time this season. The Redbirds finished up a series in Houston and now begin their first series against a non NL Central team, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Tuesday May 1, 2012—Cardinals 10 Pirates 7
The Cardinals had Monday off and entertained the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates for the first game of a three game series at home in St. Louis. The Birds strike first in the 1st inning. Rafael Furcal leads off with a double to right field. Jon Jay sacrifice bunts Furcal over to third. Matt Holliday reaches on an error and Furcal scores. 1-0 Cardinals. The Pirates answer back in the 3rd with 2 runs on the board against starter Adam Wainwright who gives up a two run homerun to Jose Tabata. The Redbirds tie the game in the 4th when Yadier Molina singles to right field and then steals Pirates starter Charlie Morton blind and advances to second base. After Ks by both Allen Craig and Skip Schumaker, Wainwright reaches on a fielding error, allowing Molina to score. In the 5th, the Cardinals tack on 4 more runs. Matt Holliday singles to center field and Carlos Beltran draws a walk. David Freese then blasts a 3 run homer to center field. Molina doubles to right, Allen Craig singles to center scoring Molina. The Birds score again in the 6th on a solo home run from Matt Holliday. The Pirates put two more on the board in the top of the 7th when Wainwright gives up his second home run of the game to Pedro Alvarez. The Cardinals come back in the bottom half of the 7th and score three more. Molina reaches on an error and then advances to second on a single by Allen Craig. Molina then steals 3rd and scores on a throwing error by Pirates catcher Rod Barajas. Rafael Furcal then hits a two run homer, his first of the season. The Pirates stage a rally in the 8th scoring 3 runs, but it is not enough, and the Cardinals go on to win the game 10-7. Adam Wainwright gets his first win of the season.
Wednesday May 2, 2012—Cardinals 12 Pirates 3
The Cardinals’ offense partied like it was 1999 for the second day in a row against the Buccos and Lance Lynn continued his starting pitching dominance. And Pirates starter A. J. Burnett, who dominated the Cardinals in his last start against them, had a very bad day. In the 1st, Furcal singles to right, Jay singles to right, and Holliday singles to left, scoring Furcal. Carlos Beltran follows with a 3 run shot to right. 4-0 Birds. Pirates put one on the board in the top of the 2nd. In the bottom half of the 2nd, Furcal again singles to right, Jay is hit by a pitch, and Holliday again drives in Furcal with a single to left. While Beltran is batting, Pirates catcher Barajas gets in the home plate umpire’s face over a close pitch and gets a trip to the clubhouse, followed close behind by his manager, Clint Hurdle. Beltran then singles to right, scoring Jay. David Freese grounds into a double play, but Matt Holliday scores anyway and the Cardinals end up putting a 3 spot up on the board. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Cardinals put the finishing touches to A.J. Burnett‘s bad day, scoring 5 more runs. Matt Carpenter singles to center and Daniel Descalso blisters a triple to center, sending Carpenter home and himself to third base. He comes home on a sac fly by Furcal. Jon Jay gets an infield hit, Matt Holliday walks, and Carlos Beltran hits a 3 run homer, originally called a double, but it was reviewed and was determined to have gone over the wall and bounced back in. At the end of 3, Burnett is sayonara, and the Birds are leading 12-1. The Pirates make a feeble attempt at a comeback in the 7th and the 9th, scoring 1 run in each, but to no avail. Final is Birds 12 Buccos 3. Lance Lynn gets his NL leading 5th win.
Thursday May 3, 2012—Cardinals 3 Pirates 6
The Cardinals offense must have been tuckered out from scoring 22 runs in 2 games, because they only managed 3 in this loss to the Pirates. Things started out well in the bottom of the 1st for the Redbirds as they scored 2. Furcal led off with a double to left (this guy has been a freaky good lead off hitter, btw) and was sacrificed to third by Jon Jay (again with the 1st inning sac bunt from a .400 hitter, not feeling this one Matheny). David Freese doubles to left, scoring Furcal. Allen Craig also doubles to left, scoring Freese. 2-0 Birds. The Cardinals’ offense then takes a breather for 7 innings while the Pirates proceed to score 6 runs, 1 in the 4th, 2 in the 6th, and one each in the 7th, 8th and 9th. The Cardinals weren’t helped by the delaying tactics of Pirates pitcher Erik Bedard, who figured out the way to strike out multiple Cardinals was to bore them to death with multiple mound conversations with his catcher, and persistent navel gazing. Score one for American League style pitching. The Cardinals attempted a walk off rally but only managed to score once, on an Allen Craig double, scoring Jon Jay. Jake Westbrook takes the loss.
Friday May 4, 2012—Cardinals 4 Astros 5
The Cardinals made their first trip of the season to Houston, and to the baseball park known as The Freak Show, Minute Maid Park. The Astros are a young club, and in my opinion are underrated. They showed the Cardinals just how underrated they are by beating them 5-4. The Cardinals score first in the top of the 1st on a lead off single by Furcal, two groundouts and a throwing error. The Astros answer back in the bottom of the 1st, scoring twice on a fielding error by Matt Carpenter, who was playing right field, and three singles off of starter Kyle Lohse. The Birds come back and tie the game in the 2nd when Carpenter draws a walk, Skip Schumaker singles, Kyle Lohse bunts Schumaker and Carpenter to second and third, and then Astros pitcher Lucas Harrell balks, scoring Carpenter from third. You take it when you can get it. But the Astros make it 5-2 in the bottom of the 2nd when Jose Altuve hits a 3 run jack off of Lohse. The Redbirds bring it within one run in the 3rd, scoring two runs on a single by Jon Jay, a triple by Matt Holliday, and a sac fly by Allen Craig. Both teams then fail to score again for the rest of the game and the Astros get their first win of the season against the Cardinals. Lohse, who didn’t have his best stuff, takes his first loss.
Saturday May 5, 2012—Cardinals 2 Astros 8
I didn’t get to watch this game, as I was out of town watching the Baby Birds play in Springfield. It appears I was better off since the Baby Birds won and the Cardinals, well they didn’t. The Cardinals score first in the top of the 1st when Furcal, for the eleventy billionth time, gets on base with a lead off single. Jon Jay then reaches on a fielding error, sending Furcal to third and Jay to second. Carlos Beltran drives in Furcal on a single to right. The Astros then score 4 when Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia loads the bases and gives up a grand slam to Chris Johnson. Jaime must not have gotten his room service on time again. Jaime gives up another two to the Astros in the 4th on a single, a double and a sac fly. The Cardinals score one more run in the 8th, after only managing one run against their arch nemesis BudChuck Norris, when Jon Jay singles and advances to second on a passed ball, and Matt Holliday drives Jay in on a single to center field. The Astros come back in the bottom of the 8th to score two more when Cardinals reliever J.C. Romero gives up a 2 run homer to Jed Lowrie. Final score 8-2 Astros. Jaime Garcia gets the loss and no mint on his pillow.
Sunday May 6, 2012—Cardinals 8 Astros 1
I missed this game too, as I was traveling, but got to watch it later on MLB.TV. The Cardinals salvaged the series, avoiding the sweep, on what looked to me to be Adam Wainwright’s best start of the season so far. Waino pitched 7 solid innings, giving up no home runs, only 1 earned run, and scattering seven hits while striking out 7 and only walking 1. Bravo, Waino. In the 1st, Rafael Furcal doesn’t manage to get on base and Carlos Beltran grounds out. Matt Holliday walks, and then Allen Craig belts his first home run of the season, a two run shot to left field. 2-0 Birds. The Cardinals score again in the 2nd on a single by Yadier Molina and a double by Tyler Greene. In the 3rd the Cardinals tack on another when Carlos Beltran walks, Matt Holliday grounds into a force out and reaches second on a throwing error, and Allen Craig drives Holliday in on a double to left. The Redbirds score again in the 4th, this time on a two run homer by Tyler Greene. The Astros finally score their only run in the bottom of the 4th, on two singles and a wild pitch, which looked like a passed ball to me. The Cardinals score another run in the 6th when Tyler Greene walks, steals second base, advances to third on a Wainwright ground out and scores on a Furcal single. The Redbirds score their final run in the 8th when Tyler Greene hits his second homer of the game, a solo shot. The Redbirds win the game 8-1 and Tyler Greene gets to tell the haters to…………….well, never mind.