PITTSBURGH -- No late heroics as the Cards fall 5-2 to Pittsburgh.
Ike Davis' bomb in the bottom of the eighth gave the Bucs a victory and evened the series at a game apiece with the finale Wednesday at 12:30. Adam Wainwright will try to give the Cards a series winner heading home for a tough four-game homestand with the Chicago Cubs.
Seth Maness surrendered the game-winner as the Cards fall to 71-60 but stay three and a half games ahead of the Pirates in the Central Division.
Ike Davis hit a two-out two-strike pitch deep into the night and the Pirates take a 5-2 lead heading into the final inning. Reliever Seth Maness gave up two hits to start the inning but retired the next two batters and had two strikes on Davis before the big left-hander just tattoed a pitch into deep right center field.
The Redbird rally stopped as abrutply as it started as Tony Watson shut the door, retiring four straight and holding the Cards right where they were. A single by Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to 8 games but two straight strike-outs left it up to the bullpen heading into the bottom of the 8th.
As predicted, the Cards rallied in the seventh inning. Having stroked a single hit in the first six innings, the Redbirds broke through with four hits in the seventh to tie the game at 2-2.
Matt Adams led off with a gap double and Jhonny Peralta followed with a single. John Jay lofted a fly ball to center to score Adams but A.J. Pierzynski struck out. Oscar Taveras parachuted a broken bat single into short center, sending Peralta to third for pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk, just called up from memphis to replace the injured Shane Robinson.
Grichuk, displaying the aggressiveness he promised this trip to the majors, lashed a single, scoring Peralta and tying the ball game. Matt Carpenter grounded out to end the rally.
Cancel the SportsCenter special. Kolten Wong broke up Gerrit Cole's no-hit bid with a two-out double down the right field line. But an outside pitch called a strike kept Matt Carpenter off the bases before that double or the Cards might have had an inning. Matt Holliday became the ninth strike-out victim and the Birds still trail 2-0.
Oscar Taveras ripped a shot up the middle that ricocheted off the pitcher right to the second baseman for an easy out, an allegory of the Cardinals' night so far.
Though they trail just 2-0 into the top of the sixth, it feels much worse. The Cards have no hits, have whiffed seven times and hit only two balls out of the infield thus far. Gerrit Cole's pitch count is in the mid-80s so it is doubtful he'd be able to prosecute a no-hitter to its conclusion.
Cole's teammates meanwhile, are doing their best to support their pitcher as Josh Harrison planted one in the left field seats to lead-off the home half of the fifth, nudging the lead to 2-0.
Lance Lynn surrendered two-out singles to Neil Walker and Russell Martin before retiring Pedro Alvarez to keep the game within reach.
The Pirates took the lead after Lynn dug himself a hole in the bottom of the fourth. A four-pitch walk to Neil Walker, a base hit by Russell Martin and a hit batsman loaded them up for the second time in four innings. Pedro Alvarez fanned but the Bucs scored on a fielder's choice by Clint Barmes when the relay throw on what would have been a tough double play was wide of first. Lynn limited the damage by getting the pitcher to tap into an easy ground-out.
The game began as so many others have this year for the Cardinals - Three up and three down. But Cards hurler Lance Lynn matched Garrett Cole pitch for pitch, putting the Bucs down in the order inthe bottom of the first.
Garrett Cole whiffed the side in the Cards second . The Bucs threatened in the bottom of the inning when Russell Martin hit a one-out double off the top of the right field wall and Starling Marte and Cint Barmes walked, loading the bases. But Cole hit a soft one-hop liner to Lynn who tossed to first to end the threat.
In the third, Andrew McCutcheon took extra bases away from Matt Carpenter when he snared a long fly ball with his back against the wall in dead center field. Lynn regained his control in the bottom of the inning and retired the side in order.
So far, this game is following the same script as last night; no offense early and pitching keeping Cardsin the game. 0-0 into fourth.