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Rain fell at PNC Park, but did not alter the Cardinals 11-7 win over the Pirates. Wainwright back to St. Louis.

By Beth Chapman
Aug. 18, 2017

St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park to face the Pittsburgh Pirates for three games, plus a fourth in honor of the Little League World Series. Game Four will be played at Williamsport PA, for the first MLB Little League Classic Sunday night.

AP Photo

Arriving in Pittsburgh after a controversial time-out call by HP umpire Chris Segal in the ninth inning of the final game against the Red Sox, the Cardinals were on a mission.

However, the start of Game One between the Cardinals and the Pirates was delayed 25 minutes due to rain. Then the teams hit the field to play ball with Pirates Jameson Taillon to face Cardinals Adam Wainwright.

Earlier in the day, the Cardinals announced that closer Trevor Rosenthal was being sent back to St. Louis for tests which will include a MRI. He exited the game against the Boston Red Sox in the ninth the night before, after giving up a home run and issued a walk experiencing forearm tightness. Pitcher Luke Weaver was recalled from Memphis Triple-A to join the team at PNC Park. Weaver had pitched from the bullpen; and, as a starter for the Cardinals this season.

With Wainwright making his third start after coming off the DL (back stiffness), coincidence paid off. He would only see three innings. His second three inning start in August since his return. He gave up 1 HR/5 ER/1 BB before being relieved by Weaver.

After Josh Harrison slugged out a two-run homer in Wainwright's first, Jedd Gyorko answered back to cut the Pirates lead in half. He crunched a solo-shot against Taillon in the second. Kolten Wong slugged out a RBI single in his third. The Cardinals would begin to cut the lead even further in his fifth as rain began to fall. One out on the board, he issued two walks. Paul DeJong singled deep into center for a RBI; followed by, Dexter Fowler's RBI single to squeeze the Pirates lead to one run.

When Weaver (3.31 ERA) came to the hill in the fourth, the Pirates held a 5-2 lead on the board. He went two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, issued two walks and had one strikeout to finish out a rainy fifth inning before another weather delay was called.

With an 1 hour, 12 minute delay, the game resumed top of the sixth. Both starters retired. Pirates A.J. Schugel on the hill for the sixth, holding the Pirates 5-4 lead. Cardinals Sam Tuivailala retired his bases loaded jam with a fly-out by Harrison. He allowed no runs, gave up two walks and had two strikeouts.

Joaquin Benoit for the seventh. Cardinals made their move to take the lead. First out on top-of-the-order Matt Carpenter, then allowed a single and DeJong to first after a HBP. Fowler to face him. He takes a full count pitch sending the two-seamer into the right field corner for the go-ahead 2-RBI triple. sliding into 3B safely. Yadier Molina follows padding the lead with a RBI single, Cardinals 7-5 lead. Daniel Hudson followed, two outs for no further damage. Fowler was 2-3 AB/3 RBI/3 Runs with drawing two walks in last night's game.

Wade LeBlanc would face nine Cardinals at the plate in a four run ninth. Top-of-the-order, Tommy Pham, (2-4/1 RBI/3 Runs). He gets a hold of a pitch and sends the two-seamer sailing over the left wall for a solo home run. Two outs and two runners on, Wong adds another RBI for his night on a single to center, followed by a 2-RBI triple by Randal Grichuk for a 11-5 lead.

Since closer Trevor Rosenthal was placed on the 10-Day DL, later stated with right elbow irritation, manager Mike Matheny limited to his bullpen choices for the ninth inning. Seung-Hwan Oh began the season as closer, but recently Rosenthal won the position back with solid pitching. Oh has done much better in late innings vs. the ninth. And, he held true to that fact in last night's game. Fortunately, the Cardinals had a decent lead on the Pirates.

Oh gave up two singles before his first out. David Freese connects for a RBI double deep into center. Adam Frazier HBP. Jordy Mercer hit into a fielders choice for another RBI, with a second out at second base, cutting the Cardinals lead to four. Oh was able to close the inning with no further damage. Sam Tuivailala earned his third win this season in the Cardinals 11-7 win. Benoit was handed his sixth loss.

CARDINALS ANNOUNCEMENT ~ WAINWRIGHT DEPARTS FOR ST. LOUIS

Another announcement made by the Cardinals organization, Wainwright heads to St. Louis to have a "sore arm" re-evaluated. This injury would explain, in part, a decisive drop in his velocity and control since he returned from his last DL stint. He joins Rosenthal for medical consultations. So what move will Cardinals announce today, as I'm presuming, Wainwright will also be placed on the 10-Day DL.

Memphis Triple-A RHP Mark Montgomery has become the talk of Cardinals Nation. A free agent, the Cardinals signed him to a minor league contract this past April, previously with the New York Yankees. He is 4-1/2.19 ERA in 41 games in 61.2 IP with a 0.89 WHIP. He has 5 saves out of 7 opportunities. He's held his opposition to a .187 BA, only issued 14 walks and logged 70 SO.

I don't know if Montgomery will be a consideration as the Memphis Redbirds are in the minor league playoffs. And, he pitched in the Redbirds game last night, going 2 IP/2 ER (last he gave up an earned run was July 28). However, keep him on the radar for September at the latest.

GAME TWO ~ 6:05 CST, NEXT UP

Cardinals Carlos Martinez (9-9/3.56 ERA) will face Pirates Trevor Williams (5-5/4.19 ERA). Another re-mach of starters.

C Martinez is 0-0/2.57 ERA facing the Pirates at PNC Park this season. He went 7 IP/1 HR/2 ER holding the Pirates to a .192 BA.

Williams, who faced C Martinez on July 16, went 5.2 IP/1 ER/2 Runs for a 1.59 ERA for a no-decision, also. However, the Pirates got the 4-3 win with Adam Frazier's RBI walk-off win.

MLB SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL ~ ESPN 6:00 CST

Sunday evening, the Pittsburgh Pirates play the St. Louis Cardinals in the [first] MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport’s 91-year-old Minor League facility, BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. It is timed to coincide with the playing of the Little League World Series across the river in the borough of South Williamsport. (Josh Mock, USA Today)

DOWN THE STRETCH

Much to look forward to in this series. Cardinals take Game One and look to begin a new stretch of wins as they are now back to 1.5 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs. Of course, the Pirates 5.5 games back with handed their fifth loss last night, look to turn-around their recent play.