Cardinals newcomer Jedd Gyorko homered and drove in his first two runs for the club, but his bad flip to second base helped put the winning run in scoring position in the 11th inning. Jordy Mercer’s single to right allowed Gregory Polanco to score as the Pirates beat the Cardinals 6-5 in extras.
The Cardinals bullpen had retired 18 straight batters after the Pirates tied the game 5-5 in the fifth. It all came undone six innings later.
Seth Maness came out to pitch for his second inning and allowed a one out walk to Polanco. Josh Harrison hit a ball up the middle that Gyorko stopped by diving to his left, but his flip from his stomach to second baseman Kolten Wong was horrible and Polanco slid in before Wong could control the ball. The play was ruled a hit, but it’s a play the shortstop needed to make. The next batter singled and the game was over.
After a fast start by the Cardinals, overcoming deficits of 2-0 and 3-2, St. Louis had a 5-3 lead in the fifth, when Michael Wacha lost control. He gave up a pair of one out singles and then walked Starling Marte on four straight pitches to load the bases. Wacha was down in the count to Francisco Cervelli, but induced a routine double play ground ball up the middle that rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz booted keeping the bases loaded and making it a 5-4 game.
That ended Wacha’s night who made it just 4.1 innings. Tyler Lyons gave up a sac fly to allow the tying run to score.
After the fifth inning, the Cardinals offense managed two hits, two walks and a hit batter and never got a runner past second base. Their best chance to take the lead came in ninth when Jeremy Hazelbaker blooped a double to left field, but was left standing at second after Kolten Wong failed to get a bunt down and Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty flied out.
The Cardinals finished with eight hits, struck out 13 times, left seven runners on base and grounded into two double plays, wasting a great bullpen effort.
“Those guys were throwing up zeros after zeros. They kept us in there, gave us a fighting chance. It was a lot of fun watching those guys go to work,” said Wacha after the game.