The Cardinals couldn’t get on base and the Pirates couldn’t get runs home. Cardinals’ pitchers walked a lot of Pirates’ batters. The Pirates left many batters stranded on bases. No runs were scored.
The seventh inning was marked by a horrible event. Stephen Piscotty was injured in a collision with Peter Bourjos in the outfield. Piscotty was strapped to a stretcher and driven off the field in a cart. The game went on, as it had to.
No runs were scored until the ninth inning. Matt Carpenter singled. Then Jon Jay hit a ground ball up the middle that two Pirates outfielders bobbled, allowing Carpenter to score from first base. Following that crazy event, Mark Reynolds hit a two-run home run. Trevor Rosenthal pitched the bottom of the ninth. He put two men on base, but got the next three outs for the win. Later, we learned Piscotty was going to be okay.
Tuesday Sept. 29: Cardinals at Pirates
This game was postponed due to inclement weather.
There was not much offense for the Cardinals in this first game of a doubleheader due to the rainout the previous night. The Pirates scored first on a Neil Walker home run in the second inning off Michael Wacha. The Cards tied it up in the fourth when Matt Carpenter doubled, Jon Jay bunted Carpenter over to third, and Matt Holliday singled to score Carpenter.
The wheels came off the Cards’ bus in the bottom of the fourth. Wacha loaded the bases after intentionally walking Pedro Alvarez. The next batter, Francisco Cervelli, launched a grand slam. A subsequent double scored another run to make the score 6-1 for the Pirates. Matt Carpenter hit a solo home run in the sixth, but the Pirates scored again in the bottom frame when Jon Jay couldn’t track down a line drive that went for a double and a subsequent single to center scored the run.
Adam Wainwright made his post injury bullpen debut in the eighth. He got the first two outs, but another double, over the head of Tommy Pham in center, and a follow up single scored the eighth and final run for the Pirates.
This game started better than Game 1. Matt Carpenter hit a leadoff double and scored on a Jason Heyward single. Matt Adams then doubled, scoring Heyward. In the third inning, Carpenter doubled again, Jon Jay was hit by a pitch for the second time, Jhonny Peralta walked, and Heyward hit a grand slam. In the seventh inning, Jay walked and took second on a wild pitch. Peralta singled to score Jay.
Starter Tyler Lyons pitched seven shutout innings, giving up only four hits and striking out five.
In the eighth, Kolten Wong doubled, Carpenter walked, Jay walked, and Peralta singled to score Wong and Carpenter. The Pirates finally scored in the bottom of the eighth with Kevin Siegrist on the mound. Siegrist walked Michael Morse, then Chris Stewart hit a fly ball to left center field which Jay called off Bourjos to catch but didn’t catch it. It hit the wall then bounced back into Jay’s glove and Jay signaled that it was a ground rule double but no umpire called it one. The Pirates didn’t challenge, and the Cardinals got away with it. A ground out scored the runner from third. In the ninth, Wong doubled, then Tony Cruz hit a two run home run to pile on. Carlos Villanueva pitched the ninth.
The Cardinals won game 100 and took the NL Central Division.
Thursday Oct. 1.
With Jaime Garcia on the mound, and most of the starters on the bench, the Braves scored first with a third inning solo home run. Two singles and a double later, another run was on the board. The Cardinals had a bases loaded no outs situation in the fifth inning, but Jon Jay hit weakly into a double play and Tommy Pham struck out. In the eighth inning, the Braves scored two insurance runs off relievers Randy Choate and Jonathan Broxton. The Cardinals managed five hits on the way to being shut out.
Saturday Oct. 3: Cardinals at Braves
This game was postponed due to inclement weather and was played as Game 1 of a doubleheader on Oct. 4.
The Cardinals didn’t look like they were trying too hard to win this game. The starting lineup resembled a playoff caliber one, but the substitutions started early. The Braves got on the board with two runs in the first off John Lackey and added one more in the fourth and another in the sixth.
Lackey gave way to Tyler Lyons in the fifth inning. Jhonny Peralta was quickly replaced by Greg Garcia, then Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Jason Heyward came out for Mark Reynolds, Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay. Tony Cruz was replaced by Ed Easley.
The Braves scored another two runs in the seventh. The long ball was the Braves’ friend, as they scored four runs in that fashion. Pete Kozma and Tommy Pham got into the game as well, with Kozma replacing Wong and Pham replacing Piscotty in RF. The Cardinals managed just three hits in this contest against former Cardinal Shelby Miller.
The Cardinals didn’t look any better in Game 2. The Braves scored one against Lance Lynn in the first inning. That was all the Braves got from Lynn, who pitched five innings. The Braves scored again in the seventh with Steve Cishek on the mound.
The Cardinals had four hits in total, one each from Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk, Mark Reynolds and Brandon Moss, with the only extra base hit from Moss. Kevin Siegrist pitched the ninth. Lynn took the loss.
Thus ended the Cardinals’ regular season, with a record of 100-62.
NL Central Standings - final
The Cardinals clinched the Division with the next two clubs finishing with the next-best records in MLB.
Hot/Cold players of the week
Hot: Jason Heyward, 7-for 15 with one HR and four RBI; Matt Carpenter 7-for-16 with two HR and two RBI; Tony Cruz, 6-for-16 with one HR and three RBI; Tyler Lyons, 1-0, 0.00 ERA.
Cold: Mark Reynolds, 1-for 10; Randal Grichuk 1-for-10; Matt Holliday 1-for-8; Michael Wacha, 0-1, 13.50 ERA
Adam Wainwright was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Sept 30. Carlos Martinez (right shoulder strain) was placed on the 60 day DL to make room for Wainwright on the 40 man roster.
Yadier Molina (partial tear of left thumb ligament) will not play in the remainder of the regular season. Play in the postseason is uncertain.
Jordan Walden (right biceps inflammation) and Carlos Martinez (right shoulder tightness) are out for the remainder of the season.
Adam Wainwright (torn Achilles tendon) was activated from the 60 day DL on Sept. 30. He pitched in a game for the first time since the surgery in Game 1 of the Sept 30 doubleheader, from the bullpen in the eighth inning. He has since pitched in two more games on Oct. 2 and Oct. 4.
Stephen Piscotty (head contusion) collided with Peter Bourjos in the outfield in the Sept. 28 game in Pittsburgh. Piscotty was hospitalized, but all tests came back negative. Piscotty was back in the lineup in Game 1 of the Oct. 4 doubleheader.
Jon Jay (wrist tendonitis) has made ten starts since coming off the DL in early September for a batting line of .179/.304/.256 as of the Oct. 2 game against the Braves.
Randal Grichuk (right elbow strain) has seen limited play since coming off the DL, primarily because of lingering throwing issues. Grichuk has made seven starts since early September and has a batting line as of Oct. 2 of .200/.273/.467 including two HRs and three RBI.
Matt Adams (torn right quad) has made six starts since September 10 for a batting line as of Oct. 2 of .250/.300/.429. Adams has one HR and four RBI during that period.
Matt Holliday (right quad strain) has made five starts since coming off the DL. His batting line during that time, as of Oct. 2, is .200/.238/.350.
The Cardinals will play Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Friday, Oct. 9, and Game 2 on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Busch Stadium, game times to be announced. The opponent will be the winner of the NL Wild Card game to be played on Oct. 7, with the Cubs at the Pirates.
The playoff roster for the NLDS has not yet been set and is not required until Friday. The starting pitchers for Games 1 and 2 are yet to be disclosed as well.
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