The Bucs travelled to the Gateway to the West to take on the Cardinals in what would be series that could shift the division standings. With the pitching matchup of Kevin Correia – Adam Wainwright, it looked like it could be a long night for the Pirates in the triple digit temperatures. The offense, though, proved everyone wrong.
Neil Walker kicked off the scoring with a two-run two-out single in the first. St. Louis got a run back on an RBI groundout in the second, and the big blow came in the third. Carlos Beltran drove in a run on his 2,000th career hit, and Allen Craig, who has owned Pirates pitching, hit a three-run blast to make it 5-2 STL. With Wainwright’s career track-record, a three-run deficit seemed insurmountable.
El Toro, however, struck big time in the fifth. With two outs, Pedro lined the first pitch he saw down the line, clearing the bases and tying the game. The way Correia was pitching, he probably should have been out of the game after four innings. But Hurdle wanted him to go five, so he was back out there for the fifth. He pitched a scoreless inning, and Clint Barmes put him in line for the win with a solo shot to lead off the sixth. Alex Presley pinch-hit, and also went deep. Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer later in the inning to put the Pirates up 9-5.
Brad Lincoln came in for three shutdown innings, striking out four and giving up just one hit. The weak Cardinals bullpen really struggled against the hot Bucs offense. Casey McGehee drove in a run, and Pedro walked with the bases loaded to make it 11-5. In case there was any chance of the Cards coming back, Cutch hammered a three-run home run in the ninth off of Marc Rzepcynski to put the Bucs up 14-5.
Chris Resop pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Pirates won by nine – the largest margin of victory in 2012. They also now have a run differential of +3, and have scored the most runs in the NL in June. This was win #41, which is exactly halfway to a winning season. A very satisfying victory, and a fun game to watch. Hopefully there’s still some offense to go around tomorrow at 2:15.
Pirates (41-35) – Cardinals (40-37)
Win: Correia (4-6)
Loss: Wainwright (6-8)