The Pittsburgh Pirates staged their biggest comeback of the young season as they honored the now retired usher Phil Coyne on his 100th birthday.
Coyne worked the stands for 81 seasons, missing time only to go fight in World War Two, and in his early years watched such stars as Babe Ruth and the Waner brothers - and tonight, as he sat among dozens of family members, looked like he was having as much fun as ever as his beloved Bucs battled back from a 5-0 deficit.
Steven Brault started and wasn’t fooling any Cardinals batters as his counterpart Miles Mikolas rolled through the Pirates lineup like a Cy Young candidate, keeping the home team off the board through the first five innings and finishing with seven punchouts and no walks in seven innings.
St. Louis broke out for a 3-0 lead in the top of the third when Jedd Gyorko led off with a homer to left, followed by a walk to Kolten Wong, a double by Tommy Pham off the right field wall and a single by Marcell Ozuna after another walk to Jose Martinez. They added another in the fourth on an error, a walk, a wild pitch and a sac fly - more poor pitching and defense. Martinez’s double and another single by Ozuna plated a fifth run in the fifth inning and a line drive off the bat of Yadier Molina, even though it was caught for an out, was enough to convince manager Clint Hurdle that Brault was done.
Kyle Crick struck out Paul DeJong to end the inning and the team went into white flag mode as pinch-hitter Max Moroff stayed in on defense and Tyler Glasnow took the mound - but then a funny thing happened on the way to the loss.
Glasnow worked through a 15 pitch sixth inning, allowing a hit and a walk, but no runs. Then Gregory Polanco led off the bottom of the frame with a long homer to center, followed by infield singles by both Starling Marte and Josh Bell, and Corey Dickerson’s fly ball plated a second run..
They were still down three as Glasnow worked a scoreless 7th, allowing a hit but with no strikeouts. The Pirates went out meekly against Mikolas in the bottom of the inning, and Glasnow came out for his third inning of the night and made quick work of DeJong, Gyorko and Wong, getting six misses on six swings out of eleven pitches in the inning. For the night, Glasnow threw 22 of 33 pitches for strikes, averaging just 11 pitches per inning.
After Richard Rodriguez K’d two of three in the top of the ninth, Greg Holland came in to close out the victory for the Cardinals. Corey Dickerson doubled. Francisco Cervelli singled. Colin Moran reached on an error by the first baseman, scoring Dickerson and making it 5-3. Pitcher Chad Kuhl went to first base to run for the slow footed Moran, who represented the tying run. Jordy Mercer worked the count full then lined a ball off the wall in straight away center that Tommy Pham misplayed as Kuhl raced around the bases to tie the game and Mercer cruised into third as the potential winning run with no outs. And there he stood as Max Moroff popped out to short center and Polanco and Marte waved at breaking pitches well out of the strike zone.
A day after the Cardinals went thirteen innings against the Mets, they were again working deeper into extra innings after manager Mike Matheny burned through four pitchers in the ninth. 21 year old rookie Jordan Hicks stepped onto the mound and his first pitch registered 101 miles per hours. Moroff struck out, but Hicks had less of an idea where his pitches were going than Tyler Glasnow normally does. David Freese walked, went to second on a wild pitch, to third on a ground ball, then on a 2-2 count Starling Marte ripped a liner into right center to drive home Freese with the winning run.
George Kontos got the win, working a scoreless inning with a walk and no strike outs, but benefiting when runner Harrison Bader was running on the pitch and was easily doubled off first on a fly ball to right field.
These same two teams will do it again tomorrow, hoping for fireworks not only after but during the game on what’s expected to be another chilly night.