(BaseballStL) — Saving the best for last, the Cardinals started the bottom of the ninth with a walk from Carpenter, his third straight on the night.
Holliday flew softly to left, setting up Matt Adams with one out and one on. After fouling off a pitch, he turned on a curveball and lifted it over the fence in right field for his 10th homer of the season.
With the bomb, the Cardinals stole the game 2-0 from the Pirates.
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The first sign of life offensively came in the bottom of the eighth for the Cardinals. Jon Jay led things off with a single, and Kolten Wong bunted him to second on the sacrifice.
Following Hurdle's lead, Mike Matheny sent Oscar Taveras out to face All Star lefty Tony Watson. The 21-year-old turned on a pitch and rocketed it into right, but it was directly at Josh Harrison. He made the catch and promptly threw to second to double up Jay, who had taken off assuming it was a hit.
Like that the inning was over, and the Cardinals turned things over to their own All Star reliever Pat Neshek for a scoreless ninth.
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Sam Freeman came on to handle duties in the eighth inning, and found himself afflicted by the same malady that followed Wainwright.
A leadoff single from Neil Walker was followed by a strikeout of Martin, but pinch hitter Gaby Sanchez drew a walk to put two on.
A fly out to center put the Pirates down to their last out, and it seemed to happen on a grounder to second from Jody Mercer. Kolten Wong misplayed the hop, and instead of being an inning-ender, Mercer's ball loaded the bases.
Clint Hurdle send super prospect Gregory Polanco to the plate for a lefty vs. lefty showdown with the game on the line. After tossing a ball in the dirt, Freeman followed with two fastballs before a Polanco waved haplessly at a slider to strike out.
The total Pirates left on base reached 12, and the Cardinals escaped for the eight straight inning.
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The same script continued to play out through the first seven innings. The Pirates had at least one man on every time they came to bat, and stranded all nine.
In the seventh, Wainwright gave up a leadoff single, picked up a ground out, then promptly hit Starling Marte.
With two on and two out, McCutchen flew out softly to left field, ending the threat. The former MVP is 0-for-4 on the night, having ended three innings, one with a double play.
The Cardinals continue to flounder at the plate, sporting only Matt Adams' double in the first in the hit column. Previously, they hit .503 off starter Charlie Morton at Busch stadium.
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After another 1-2-3 inning at the plate, the Cardinals found themselves with another threat in the fifth.
After getting two quick outs, Wainwright surrendered a triple to Marte and the Pirates had their fifth man in scoring position in as many innings.
After getting ahead 0-2 to McCutchen, the Cardinal ace got him to chop a ball to third. Matt Carpenter gloved the ball and fired quickly to first to barely catch the speedy McCutchen, preserving the 0-0 tie.
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The fourth was more of the same for the NL ERA leader. When Neil Walker led off with a looped single, Martin was called out on a pitch at his knees.
Ike Davis moved walker up two stations when he singled into left, and Wainwright was once again forced to make an escape.
He began by getting Pedro Alvarez to chase a dirt-bound curveball for strike three, then went after Jody Mercer with two cutters and a fastball. When he didn’t chase a curveball in the dirt, Davis took off for second and Molina threw down to third to try and catch Walker. Matt Carpenter mad a run-saving catch when he dove to snare the throw.
With two men in scoring position, Wainwright turned to face Mercer. He went back to his signature curveball, and this time the Pittsburgh shortstop popped it up to second. His escape act was a necessary one Adams’ hit is the only offensive success the Cardinals have had thus far.
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Wainwright continued to deal with base runners the next two innings. Walking the leadoff man in the second and giving up a single to the next hitter before a 5-4-3 double play took care of two outs.
He then got starter Charlie Morton to ground out to Jhonny Peralta to end the inning without damage.
In the third, a leadoff single was undone when Marte flew out deep to the track in left center and Andrew McCutchen grounded into another double play, ending the inning in just 11 pitches for the Cardinal starter.
An 11 minute delay split the first inning in half, and when action resumed, the Cardinal offense seemed to still be on delay.
The only bright spot through the first was a double by Matt Adams down the line to left. He was stranded when Allen Craig grounded out to end the inning.
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After a 47 minute rain delay, the Cards and Pirates began action in a crucial four-game series. Trailing Pittsburgh in the standings by a half game, St. Louis desperately needs a win, especially after dropping two of three to the Marlins.
Adam Wainwright took the hill at 8:02, and ran into trouble early. After a fly ball to right was snared by Allen Craig, Starling Marte singled to put a man on. A pop up to left made it two outs, but Wainwright issued a four-pitch walk to Neil Walker, and the go ahead run moved into scoring position.
Russel Martin stepped in, and proceeded to battle the Cardinal starter for 10 pitches. After working the count full, the Pirates catcher fouled off three straight with the runners in motion. Finally, he put a ball into the air to left for the third out.
As Wainwright walked off the mound, the skies opened up and the game went under delay.