Luis Ortiz was far from his dominant self, and neither pitching nor offense was effective for the Pirates as they fell to the Cardinals 13-3.
Ortiz got into trouble immediately, with Cards leadoff hitter Brandon Donovan doubling. He then walked Lars Noobaar and Paul Goldschmidt. The Pirates were able to get Donovan out on a Nolan Arenado forceout between Diego Castillo, who was playing first, and Jason Delay, but Albert Pujols singled, scoring Nootbaar and Goldschmidt, then Alec Burleson walked, loading the bases again. Former Pirate Corey Dickerson then hit a grand slam, making it a quick 6-0 Cardinals lead. Yadier Molina then popped out, but that was the end of Ortiz’s night. Whether it was just that Derek Shelton had seen enough or there was injury involved probably will be known today, but honestly, given that this was a fairly meaningless end-of-season game that Ortiz got the hook so quickly is suspect, despite the grand slam. But we’ll see.
The Pirates scored a couple of runs in the top of the second, with a single by Miguel Andujar, a Castillo double and a Delay single that got both of them home. The Cards came right back, scoring four runs off Zach Thompson to make it 10-2 Cards in the second inning.
Thompson did settle down after that, going 1-2-3 in the next few innings until the seventh inning, when the latest noob Junior Fernandez came in for him, mainly because the Cardinals made a bunch of defensive changes in the Pirates’ half of the inning. The rest of the Cardinals’ damage came in the eighth off Manny Banuelos, although Ji-Hwan Bae, who replaced Bryan Reynolds in center field in the seventh, got an RBI after Cal Mitchell doubled and an error by Paul DeJong got him on base.
In case you didn’t hear, the reason Fernandez came up is because Wil Crowe went on the IL with an elbow injury. Shelty didn’t sound too concerned, but given that Crowe’s stunk it up as of late, it’s the easiest way to get him out of the rotation.
The Cardinals marathon, the St. Louis part anyway, rolls on this afternoon.