Since April 16th, the St. Louis Cardinals have been in first place.
Considering what they’ve been through this year, that’s an astonishing fact.
On Monday night, the Cardinals squared off in a critical three-game road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and entering the day, they were behind St. Louis just by three games. Both teams had come off of devastating losses on Sunday, with the Cardinals losing to the Brewers, and the Pirates losing to the Cubs.
But in game one of the three game series between these bitter rivals, it was the Cardinals that got the win when they needed it most, winning 3-0. The starting pitchers for the evening were Lance Lynn (12-10, 3.16 ERA) and J.A. Happ (10-8, 3.88).
Throughout the majority of the game, Lynn and Happ fought it out in an intense pitcher’s duel, with a lot at stake.
Lynn had one of his best starts in months, although he did not pitch very long into the game, as by the third inning he had already thrown 69 pitches. His final line for the evening was: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks. Steve Cishek replaced Lynn in the sixth inning, and kept the shutout going.
In the top of the seventh, when Josh Harrison hit a fly ball out to left-center field, left fielder Stephen Piscotty collided with Peter Bourjos, taking a knee to the head. PNC Park became dead silent as the trainers came out and a cart was brought onto the field to take Piscotty off. He was later responsive, and after a night’s stay at the hospital, was found to have not suffered a concussion.
Finally, in the top of the ninth inning, the Cardinals broke the scoreless tie, when Mark Reynolds blasted a two-run home run to make it 3-0 Cardinals after Matt Carpenter had earlier scored from first base. Trevor Rosenthal entered to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning, and with his 48th save of the year, set a Cardinals single-season record for saves in a season.
The 99-58 Cardinals, with a win on Wednesday, will not only win the National League Central, but they will also win their 100th game.
Michael Wacha will start game one, and Tyler Lyons will start game two.
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)