Keisler did not encounter any trouble until the fifth inning, when Pirates third baseman Jose Bautista hit a solo home run. The lefty also allowed a run in the sixth inning when he gave up a one-out double to second baseman Freddy Sanchez and a single to left fielder Jason Bay, which scored Sanchez.
The Cardinals were not able to get anything done on offense until late in the game, as Albert Pujols went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. In the top of the ninth, down 2-0 to the Pirates, both David Eckstein and Chris Duncan were able to reach base. Pujols flew out but allowed the base runners to advance into scoring position. It proved important to the team as third baseman Scott Spiezio's single brought two runs home to tie the game.
In the tenth inning, catcher Gary Bennett singled, but the inning quickly went to waste when pinch hitter Adam Kennedy grounded into a double play. In the eleventh inning, Skip Schumaker started a potential big inning off with a single of his own, but David Eckstein, Pujols, and Spiezio all became outs.
It wasn't until the 12th inning when it really got going for the Cardinals, as Bennett singled (he was 3-for-5 on the day) and Aaron Miles doubled (he was 4-for-5). Yadier Molina pinch hit and drew an intentional walk, and with the bases loaded, Schumaker hit a shallow pop fly to left field, but Bennett tagged up and ran to the plate and attempted to slide under the tag at home plate. Pittsburgh catcher Ronny Paulino did not have possession of the ball at the end of the play and Bennett scored the go-ahead run on Schumaker's sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals brought their record to an even 4-4, and are now tied for second in the National League Central with the Pirates. A win Wednesday and a Cincinnati Reds' loss would put the Cardinals tied for the lead in the division.
-I have not heard much on Scott Rolen, who was removed from the starting lineup just before the game with back spasms. Obviously, Scott Speizio came through at the end, but Rolen has been swinging the bat much better lately. As soon as more news comes out on his health, I'll be sure to get it out.
-It was an exciting finish for the Cardinals, who needed a clutch victory early in the season to get them more confidence. It's easy to win big, lose big, or lose by a few runs, but to win with a clutch late-inning play might be the spark this team needs to get some momentum built.
-Albert Pujols may not quite be back yet. He struck out twice but did hit two deep fly balls. Given time though, he should do fine.
-Not as many game notes today, just not a lot going on. More tomorrow as the Cardinals look to sweep the Pirates with Adam Wainwright on the mound.
Brady Holzhauer can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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