On Sunday night, the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates clashed in not only their final game in a four game series, but their last game before the All-Star break. Heading into the game, Pittsburgh only trailed by 3.5 games in the division for first place.
And after the final game before the All-Star break, the Pirates had narrowed it down to 2.5 games.
In another extra inning walk off, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals by the score of 6-5.
The pitching matchup for the evening featured young pitcher Tim Cooney (0-0, 3.95 ERA) for St. Louis going up against veteran Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.99) for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh broke the scoring open during the bottom of the second inning. After a one-out triple by catcher Francisco Cervelli, Sean Rodriguez flied out, and Cooney intentionally walked Gregory Polanco. Liriano then hit a hard single that scored both Cervelli and Polanco to make it 2-0 Pirates.
In the top of the third inning, St. Louis shortstop Jhonny Peralta was able to put the Cardinals on the board, and cut the Pirates’ lead in half with a two-out, solo home run, making it 2-1 Pittsburgh.
During the bottom of the third inning, after Jung Ho Kang was walked with two outs, he attempted to steal second with Cervelli batting. But Yadier Molina would have none of that, as he threw out Kang, ending the inning.
The Pirates added to their lead, making it a two run game once again, in the bottom of the fourth inning. Rodriguez hit a double, followed by a single from Polanco, which score Rodriguez to make it a 3-1 Pirates lead.
Both Cooney and Liriano then threw a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, to keep the score at 3-1.
Carlos Villanueva entered to pitch for Cooney in the 6th inning, as Cooney’s final line for the game ended up being: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 Ks.
St. Louis was able to tie the game in the top of the eighth inning, when Molina grounded out, which scored Kolten Wong, who led the inning off with getting hit by a pitch from reliever Tony Watson.
The score remained tied after the bottom of the ninth, as the game advanced, once again, to extra innings.
In the top of the tenth inning, Arquimedes Caminero started on the mound for the Pirates. With the Cardinals and Pirates tied, they were able to mount a comeback and take the lead. Peralta and Jason Heyward started off the inning with back to back singles. Molina then grounded into a force out, as Peralta advanced to third. Pete Kozma pinch-ran for Peralta. Mark Reynolds then got hit in the hand by a pitch, bringing up Randal Grichuk.
Grichuk then hit a double scoring both Kozma and Molina (Heyward was thrown out at second during the Molina at-bat), while Reynolds was thrown out at home, giving the Cardinals a 5-3 lead.
However, the Pirates were able to walk off with a win in the bottom of the tenth inning, as the Cardinals sent closer Trevor Rosenthal to the mound. It started with a single by Jordy Mercer. He advanced to second on a ground out by Andrew McCutcheon. Starling Marte and Kang then hit back to back singles, the former scoring Mercer, and Cervelli singled scoring Marte, making it 5-5.
And Polanco then stepped up to the plate, who hit a single, scoring Marte, giving the Pirates the 6-5 win.
It was just Rosenthal’s second blown save of the season, as his record drops to 1-2. The Cardinals head into the All-Star break still with the best record in baseball, at 56-33. Meanwhile, the Pirates are now 53-35.
After the break they play 14 of 16 at home where they are 31-11 with a +49.0 run differential. They play the Mets, Royals, Braves, Reds, and Rockies who are a combined 91-130 on the road.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)