Matt Adams three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth off Pirates reliever Edgar Santana keyed the Cardinals second four-run comeback inning of the night as they held on for an 8-7 win, snapping Pittsburgh’s five game win streak.
The Pirates torched Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, starting with Colin Moran’s solo homer in the second, smoked 405 fete at 103.8 mph. It was his ninth of the year but first since July 1, a span of 152 plate appearances. The Pirates added on three more in the third as pitcher Trevor Williams led off with a ground single to right and one out later trotted on on Starling Marte’s 418 foot blast into the batter’s eye in center field, his 19th home run of the year - which was followed by three consecutive singles by Josh Bell, Francisco Cervelli and Corey Dickerson to put the Pirates up 4-0.
Meanwhile Williams, in his sixth start of the year against St. Louis, had retired the first nine batters he faced, four swinging at strike three - but without a close score things fell apart in the fourth. Matt carpenter doubled and Jose Martinez singled to put runners at the corners with no one out. Matt Adams struck out, but Marcell Ozuna singled in the Cardinals first run and Paul DeJong doubled for two more to cut the deficit to one before Harrison Bader lofted a sacrifice fly to center to score DeJong and tie the game. Suddenly the Cardinals had scored as many runs off Williams in one inning as he’d allowed in his nine previous starts.
But the Pirates didn’t lay down. Carson Shreve relieved Wainwright in the six and with one out Josh Harrison, in just his second game since Sept. 1, went 420 feet deep to center to put Pittsburgh back up 5-4. Dominic Leone entered with two outs to face Jordy Mercer, but he singled and Kevin Kramer, pinch hitting for Williams, walked before Adam Frazier lined a single to center for one more run and a 6-4 Pirates lead.
Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez has easy innings in the sixth and seventh and the team looked well on their way to another victory as manager Clint Hurdle went to Edgar Santana for the eighth. Santana entered the game with a 2.42 ERA on the year, and in his last 28 games since July 1 had allowed only only two runs in 29 1⁄3 innings over that stretch. And just like Williams, his second half brilliance came to a crashing halt. Matt Carpenter walked after having not swung at any of six pitches. Jose Martinez lined a ball towards second but Harrison wasn’t quite tall enough to snag it as Carpenter raced to third on the single. Adams then stepped into the box and drove a 2-1 pitch deep into the seats in right to give the Cardinals a 7-6 lead. It was his 21st of the year and fourth against the Pirates. Dovydas Neverauskas entered but was unable to shut own the inning. Marcell Ozuna singled, went to second on a ground out and to third on a wild pitch. Harrison Bader then lifted a high fly down the right field line that Frazier caught up against the stands in foul ground, but much too deep to be able to throw out Ozuna who tagged at third and scored on the sacrifice fly.
Carlos Martinez entered in the ninth in an attempt to nail down the save, but after Jordan Luplow struck out, Frazier beat out a grounder to short and went to second on DeJong throwing error. Marte also struck out swinging but the suddenly hot Josh Bell drove a ball deep into left center field that hit halfway up the fence in front of the bullpen, driving in Frazier and bringing the Pirates to within one, down 8-7. It was Bell’s third hit of the game and third batted ball struck at more than 100 mph, after homering in each of the previous two games. Then it was Cervelli’s chance to be a hero, but DeJong unleashed a strong throw from deep short that video review confirmed as barely beating Cervelli to the bag at first, for the third out and the end of the game.
The series continues Tuesday night at 8:15 pm Eastern as Joe Musgrove (6-8, 3.75) faces Miles Mikolas (14-4, 3.06)