Sometimes all you have to do is put the bat on the ball to win a game.
Had the Pittsburgh Pirates been able to do that Saturday afternoon, they wouldn’t have lost the second game of a three game series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Bucs struck out a whopping 14 times on the afternoon and went a dismal 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position as the Red Birds picked up a game in the wild card standings with a 5-4 victory.
The story is the Pirates loss was simply the inability to put the bat on the ball with runners on base, as they had plenty of chances to win this game.
Andrew McCutchen struck out ending the third, leaving runners on second and third; then after Cardinals starter Lance Lynn walked the bases loaded in the fourth, he struck out Clint Barmes and Erik Bedard to get out of a big jam. In the seventh, Gaby Sanchez was on third with one out, but neither Jordy Mercer nor McCutchen could bring him in and in the eighth, with runners on first and second and no one out, Pedro Alvarez and Rod Barajas fanned before Michael McKenry flew out. Finally in the ninth, Garrett Jones delivered the big killer with runners on first and third and only one out. A fly ball ties the game, but Jones couldn’t get the bat on the ball, before Josh Harrison grounded out to end the game.
Bedard wasn’t effective, lasting only 4.2 innings, surrendering nine hits and walking three on his way to giving up five runs.
Matt Carpenter put the Cards up 1-0 in the first with an RBI single, but the Bucs evened the score in the third with an RBI double, but Bedard couldn’t keep the Cardinals off the board as they took a 3-1 lead in the fourth on a two-run double of the bat of Shane Robinson. Eventually the Pirates evened up the score on a Mercer double and Jones sac fly in the fifth, but again Bedard couldn’t get a big out.
Pirate-killer Yadier Molina returned to the lineup and he delivered the big blow-a two-run double in the fifth that chased Bedard.
The Bucs bullpen did the job, keeping it a close game, as Jared Hughes and Juan Cruz didn’t allow a run the rest of the way, but ultimately the story was the fact that the Bucs lost a game they probably should have won.
Too many missed opportunities and too many strikeouts.
The bad news may have got worse though as with Neil Walker already sidelined, mercer was hit in the right hand with a pitch and had to come out of the game. The good news is that it wasn’t a break so it’s something worth keeping an eye on. In addition, Starling Marte had to leave the ballgame in the sixth with soreness in his right side.