(The Sports Xchange) - Of all the attributes that have helped catcher Yadier Molina craft a career as one of the most beloved players in St. Louis Cardinals history, speed is not one of them.
But it was Molina’s wheels that helped decide a key National League Central showdown against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Deriving help from a misplay, Molina socked just the fifth triple of his 12-year career on Wednesday, bringing home the tie-breaking run in a 4-2 win.
With the game tied 2-2 and one out in the bottom of the sixth, Molina lined the first pitch from starter Gerrit Cole (14-6) into right field.
Gregory Polanco tried to make an ankle-high catch but missed the ball, and it rolled all the way to the wall. Center fielder Randal Grichuk scored.
“You have to love his aggressiveness,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Molina. “He told me that when he got around second, he wondered what he was doing.”
Molina walked home when left fielder Stephen Piscotty singled through a drawn-in infield for a two-run lead, capping the scoring.
The Cardinals’ bullpen mowed down the last nine hitters, with Kevin Siegrist setting up closer Trevor Rosenthal, who notched his 35th save.
The Molina-sparked rally enabled Michael Wacha to improve to 14-4 even though he gave up nine hits and three walks in six innings.
Wacha also struck out seven, stranded nine runners and tied Cole for the league lead in wins as the Cardinals (73-40) increased their lead over the Pirates to seven games.
Cole pitched better than his line of 5-1/3 innings, seven hits, four runs, two walks and six strikeouts suggests as poor defense hurt him.
“It’s just part of the game,” Cole said. “You’re going to get dealt bad hands sometimes. They fought and got me back into the game and I blew it in the sixth.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury