Ten years in the making. The Pittsburgh Pirates (60-99) defeat Adam Wainwright (11-12, 3.71 ERA) and the St Louis Cardinals (92-67) 7-5. This victory in St Louis marks the first time since 2012 that the Pirates defeated Wainwright at Busch Stadium.
The Pirates won that 2012 contest 14-5 on June 29th, with Wainwright giving up seven of the runs.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this Sunday afternoon tilt, we have to tip our caps to Albert Pujols.
Pujols tied Babe Ruth for 2nd all-time for the most RBIs in a career at 2,214.
Pujols achieved this feat in the bottom of the third with a solo shot to dead center, tying the game at four apiece. That solo home run marked Pujols’ 702nd career home run.
While down 5-4 in the fifth inning, the Pirates used small ball again to take control of the game.
Ji-Hwan Bae led the inning off with a single off Wainwright and then stole second base off Yadier Molina after replay confirmed he was safe.
Oneil Cruz hit an awkward-looking double, forcing Bae to stay put at third base with no outs and runners at second and third.
With one out, Miguel Andujar hit a 12-foot dribbler in front of home plate, allowing the speedy Bae to score easily and Cruz to advance to third.
Jack Suwinski then gave the Pirates the lead for good with a two-out RBI single into right field, giving the Pirates a 6-5 lead.
Bryan Reynolds gave the Pirates some insurance in the seventh inning with his solo homer off Zack Thompson.
Despite the victory, the Pirates started the game in a precarious position.
Ben Gamel started the inning with an error while playing first base, and Suwinski lost the next ball in the sun.
With runners on second and third, Pujols smacked a ground-rule double, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead early.
Pujols then advanced to third, tagging up and eventually scored on a sac-fly from Yadier Molina. With a 3-0 lead and the Pirate killer, Wainwright, on the hill, a comeback seemed impossible.
In the second inning, Suwinski started the inning with a leadoff walk.
With one out, Cal Mitchell continued his hot streak against the Cardinals with a little bloop single into left-field. Big Ben Gamel came to the plate with a runner in scoring position.
On a 3-1 count, Gamel hammered his ninth home run of the season, and just like that, the Pirates tied the game up at three.
The Pirates took a brief one-run lead in the third inning after Cruz showed some small ball prowess with a single, steal, and an advance to third on a Reynolds groundout.
Cruz did not score until an impressive sac-fly from Andujar on a low curveball from Wainwright.
Roansy Contreras’ (5-5, 3.79 ERA) day was done after three innings pitched, and it looked like his gas tank had finally reached empty. Contreras’ four-seam velocity was down 1.5 mph.
Contreras’ command was off on several occasions with his curveball at the top of the zone and losing a few batters after getting ahead in the count.
Chase De Jong came in and instantly got hammered with two straight doubles from Paul DeJong and Tommy Edman, giving the Cardinals a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning.
The Pirates and Cardinals will now travel to Pittsburgh to finish the regular season with a three-game series. Mitch Keller (5-12, 3.92 ERA) will get his final start of the year.