Cardinals lefty reliever Brett Cecil had gone 15 straight appearance without allowing a run. In that time his ERA dropped from 5.66 to 3.22, so it was easy to see why Mike Matheny would look to Cecil to close out Sunday’s rubber game against the Pirates after Seung-hwan Oh blew a save on Friday.
Cecil gave up three hits and allowed Pittsburgh to come with two runs in the bottom of the 9th for a 4-3 Pirates win. The two run scoring hits came of a low 80’s sliders that had no break on them whatsoever.
The inning should have started with what should have been a groundout, but Paul DeJong misplayed a ball at short that was ruled a hit but could have easily been an error. With a runner on second and one out, Cecil hung an 83 mph pitch up in the zone that Jordy Mercer pounded down the left field line for a double scoring Josh Harrison to tie the game. With two outs, the Pirates walked right hander David Freese and Cecil hung an 84 mph slider that stayed up for lefty Adam Frazier who laced it up the middle scoring Mercy.
The two runs snapped a string of 14 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball pitched by Cecil.
“His breaking ball has been very, very, good lately,” said Mike Matheny.
After two walk off losses, the Cardinals dropped a game further in the standings now down 6 1/2 to Milwaukee.