Cardinals rally to defeat visiting Pirates
(The Sports Xchange) - St. Louis rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth after denying Pittsburgh a prime scoring threat to notch a 4-3 win on Tuesday in the opener of a series between the teams with the top records in the National League.
The Cardinals (72-40) got three hits and the tie-breaking RBI from rookie left fielder Stephen Piscotty and eight innings from starter Carlos Martinez (12-4) in improving their Central Division lead over the Pirates (65-45) to six games.
Martinez had wriggled out of a first-and-second, no-out jam in Pittsburgh's fifth, inducing a 6-3 double play from center fielder Andrew McCutchen and a lineout from third baseman Aramis Ramirez that shifted the momentum of the game.
"That was huge," St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong said of Martinez's escape act. "We knew we had to get something going on offense."
The Cardinals did, with Pirates starter Jeff Locke struggling with his fastball accuracy as he walked Wong and shortstop Jhonny Peralta to start the bottom of the fifth inning.
Right fielder Jason Heyward's ground ball single to right scored Wong to make it 3-2. After an infield out moved two runners into scoring position, catcher Yadier Molina lofted a sacrifice fly that brought in Peralta.
Piscotty then laced a single to center that brought Heyward home.
"It's odd to see a rookie with the kind of disposition that Stephen has," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
"He's going about it the right way. He's using all the tools at his disposal -- doing his film work, talking with the other hitters -- and he's adjusted quickly." Continued...