After scoring twelve runs Wednesday night, the St. Louis Cardinals struck out a collective 17 times Thursday afternoon helping the Pittsburgh Pirates salvage the series finale by a score of 6-3.
The Cardinals started the game off exactly how they wanted by getting to Pirates’ starter Erik Bedard for two runs on David Freese and Allen Craig RBI doubles. But Bedard settled down completely from there. He ended the game without allowing another run in his five innings of work. He struck out 11, including 7 straight at one point.
His counterpart Jake Westbrook (3-2) was doing well until the sixth inning. With a one run lead, Westbrook gave up a two-run homer to Pedro Alvarez giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Alvarez went 6-for-11 in the series with 2 homers, 6 runs scored and 5 RBIs.
In the seventh,Westbrook allowed a one-out double to Jose Tabata and was removed from the game in favor of J.C. Romero. Tabata stole third base and Alex Presley drove him in with a RBI ground out. Westbrook ended the day with 6.1 innings pitched, four earned runs, on nine hits with one walk.
The Cardinals tried to stage a rally in the ninth. Allen Craig brought the Redbirds within 6-3 with a RBI double. That put runners at second and third with Matt Carpenter at the plate representing the tying run. Joel Hanrahan regained his composure and struck out Carpenter swinging.
- Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina received a scheduled day off yesterday.
- Lance Berkman will travel with the team to Houston, but he will not be activated today even though he is eligible.
- The series beginning today against the Houston Astros marks the first time Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow will face off against his former employers.
- AVG – Jose Altuve (.358)
- Runs – Jordan Schafer (17)
- HR – J.D. Martinez, Jed Lowrie (3)
- RBI – Martinez (20)
- SB – Schafer (9)
- OPS – Altuve (.930)
- Wins – Wandy Rodriguez (3)
- ERA – Rodriguez (1.64 among qualifiers)
- WHIP – Rodriguez (1.10 among qualifiers)
- Ks – J.A. Happ (31)
- Saves – Brett Myers (6)
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, those fans who are eagerly awaiting a Cardinals sweep of another team don’t EXPECT it to happen this weekend either. While it may look like the Astros are a pushover, they are playing decent baseball for a team many predicted to lose over 100 games.
The Cardinals do have the benefit of missing Wandy Rodriguez, but the Astros are coming into the series on a three-game winning streak and are winners of six out of their last ten games.
They have a slew of young, talented and inspired players led by J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve. So far this season the team has not taken the field with the notion they’ll be walking off losers. In their 14 losses they have lost by a total of 31 runs. That is just over two runs per game. They’ve lost six games by one run. They have outscored opponents 118-104 during the course of the season.
Another factor in this desire to get sweeps is that the Cards are going to rest players at least once a series it seems. They will pick their games, but expect many of the starters to rest on day games following a night game especially when there are stretches of many consecutive games. Beltran and Molina did yesterday. I wouldn’t be shocked if Freese, Rafael Furcal and/or Matt Holliday sit on Sunday.
Look, the Cardinals have the ability to sweep anyone. This team could rattle off a major winning streak at some point this season and likely will. But, we don’t know who it is going to be against and when. The Astros are certainly not going to sit back and oblige the World Champs either.