Cardinals Hit 3 Homers In 9th, Top Pirates 9-7

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Matt Carpenter, Randal Grichuk and Jhonny Peralta all homered off closer Tony Watson with two outs in the ninth inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals rally past the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-7 on Tuesday night.

The Cardinals were down to their last strike when Carpenter sent a long drive to right-center to tie it 6-6. Grichuk followed two batters later with a two-run shot off Watson (2-4), and Peralta piled on with a solo homer as St. Louis held on to the second wild card in the NL.

Carpenter’s homer was the 15th by a St. Louis pinch-hitter this season, a major league record. Yadier Molina went 4 for 5, including a first-inning grand slam. Mike Mayers (1-1) tossed a scoreless eighth for the win, and Seung-Hwan Oh worked around a solo homer to Jung Ho Kang in the ninth for his 16th save.

Kang had two homers for Pittsburgh and Jordy Mercer hit a two-run double in the fifth as the Pirates took advantage of some sloppy defense by the Cardinals to overcome an early five-run deficit. Pittsburgh has dropped eight straight.

The Pirates came in reeling during their longest skid in two years, one that dropped them to the fringe of playoff contention. Opponents outscored them 47-22 during the slide, including a 12-6 setback on Monday night in which the Cardinals simply overpowered Pittsburgh’s struggling pitching staff.

It looked like more of the same early on Tuesday. The Cardinals loaded the bases against Ryan Vogelsong thanks in part to a moment of hesitation by first baseman John Jaso in which Jaso tried to throw out Kolten Wong at third rather than tag first for an easy out. Molina turned Vogelsong’s next pitch into his first grand slam since 2012, the 25th straight game the Cardinals have homered, a club record.

Adams pounded Vogelsong’s offering 436 feet over the stands in right in the second to put St. Louis up 5-0, but Pittsburgh scrapped back.

Jaso atoned with an RBI single in the second and Kang homered in the fourth to make it 5-2. Bowman entered for rookie Luke Weaver, pulled after four innings and 83 pitches, and quickly frittered the lead away. His wild throw to second on an attempted double play gave Pittsburgh life. Gregory Polanco followed with an RBI single, Andrew McCutchen scored when Brandon Moss couldn’t handle Matt Joyce’s line drive and Mercer doubled to the left-field corner to give the Pirates just their second lead in a week.

It didn’t last.

Watson, moved to the closer role after Pittsburgh sent All-Star Mark Melancon to Washington at the trade deadline, quickly retired the first two batters in the ninth and had Carpenter down 0-2 when Carpenter changed things completely with one swing.


Cardinals: RF Stephen Piscotty was initially held out of the lineup to give his aching left wrist a breather. Piscotty took a pitch off the wrist on Monday. Postgame X-rays were negative and Piscotty doubled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

Pirates: Pittsburgh held C Francisco Cervelli out of the lineup a day after he experienced discomfort in his left hand trying to block a pitch.


Cardinals: Mike Leake returns to the rotation after a stay on the disabled list while battling a case of the shingles. Leake is 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh but is 1-2 with a 5.71 ERA this season.

Pirates: Rookie Jameson Taillon will face the Cardinals for the first time in the series finale. The 24-year-old has a 2.80 ERA over his last 10 starts and pitched six innings of one-run ball last week against Milwaukee.

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One Comment

  1. David Colton says:

    After the Buc’s get swept again (today,) this miserable season will be to the point where we play spoiler-period. I have never seen a professional baseball team play so lack a daisical with so much at stake. But! Who could blame them? You trade away your closer..let the 2nd best 2nd baseman in baseball go to the Met’s, why would the player’s PLAY for a management that doesn’t support them?
    It’s really Sad. This season had so much promise..until the front office mucked it all up-again!
    As I now live almost 70 miles NE of the burgh, I don’t think I’ll be driving into town as often to catch a game next year, as I’ve done in the past. Now retired, I’ll spend my money on something entertaining in the coming years. Good Luck!

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