In the first of three games between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, the Pirates dominated all night in a 9-3 victory. As for the second game on Saturday afternoon, Jaime Garcia led the Cardinals to a 4-1 victory to even the series up. And on Sunday night, the two National League Central rivals squared off in the rubber game of the series.
And with the ace of the Pirates on the mound, it was a rough night for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Gerrit Cole threw seven scoreless innings, and the Cardinals’ bullpen got rattled all night long in a 7-1 defeat. The matchup in regards to the starting pitchers was John Lackey (11-8, 2.87), and Cole (15-8, 2.64) for Pittsburgh. In the first inning, while they did not score, the Cardinals forced Cole to throw 22 pitches in the inning. On the other side, Lackey put forth a good effort in the first few innings of the game.
That is, until the fourth inning.
A single by Neil Walker scored Gregory Polanco to make it a 1-0 game. That gave the Pirates a 2-0, and it wasn’t until three innings later, when Cole singled home Sean Rodriguez, that Pittsburgh scored another run.
The final line for Lackey on Sunday night: 7.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks.
And that is where things went from bad to worse. Before Lackey was taken out,Aramis Ramirez, who in his last season, continues to play outstanding against St. Louis. hit a home run to make it 3-0. Later in the inning, with Steve Cishek on the mound, Rodriguez hit himself a two-run home run to suddenly make it 5-0 Pittsburgh. In the top of the ninth, this time with Tyler Lyons on the mound, Starling Marte hit a two-run home run as it turned into a 7-0 game.
St. Louis finally got onto the board in the end of the game, thanks to a single by Cody Stanley, entering as a pinch hitter, which scored Greg Garcia. But that was the sole run that the struggling offense was able to muster, as the lead in the National League Central shrunk to 5.5 games.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)