Sep. 12, 2017
Cardinals Shutout the Pirates for the Sweep
St. Louis Cardinals came into Game Three with a 2-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Michael Wacha cruises through eight scoreless innings while fanning seven for the Cardinals 7-0 shutout yesterday.
Cardinals had not had a shutout win with Michael Wacha on the hill, at Busch Stadium, since July 28 over the Arizona Diamondbacks. He began yesterday's game taking down the side and did not allow the Pirates any runs through a solid eight scoreless innings, issued no walks, only allowed the Pirates five hits; and, logged seven strikeouts. In two starts this month, Wacha is holding a 1.93 ERA, which thus far, is matching his month of July. He, also, added one of Cardinals runs on a sac-fly for his third RBI this season.
John Gant followed for the ninth. Not a save for Gant, but he held Wacha's shutout intact with one strikeout, one hit allowed, taking down the next two batters faced for the Cardinals 7-0 win.
Save a solo homer by Randal Grichuk in the fourth, Yadier Molina owned the plate facing Pirates Ivan Nova.
Molina was 2-3 AB/1 Run and slugged out 5 RBI in yesterday's game. He opened the Cardinals scoring with a single RBI in the first. In the third, runners on the corners, Molina to the plate. He was not happy with the second pitch served up high and in zooming past his chin guard. He, took Nova's next pitch and sent the leather sailing out over the right center wall for a three-run homer.
Cardinals fans on their feet cheering through Molina's "curtain call". Also, in the booth covering the game for the Spanish listeners, Bengie Molina was up on his feet cheering his brother on. As Yadier rounded the bags, he acknowledged his big brother watching from above the field.
Molina would add his fifth for the game in the seventh inning, facing Angel Sanchez, for a RBI sac-fly to give the Cardinals their final score. This was his second career high of five RBI in one game. His first was September 17, 2010 against the San Diego Padres. Molina now has 72 RBI this season.
Cardinals take the series with a sweep over the Pirates for an 8-2 record for September. With the Milwaukee Brewers sweeping the first place Chicago Cubs over the weekend, the two teams remained tied for second place in the NL Central, now just two games behind the Cubs. For the first time this season, the Cardinals are seven games above .500 and will host the Cincinnati Reds for three games.
NEXT UP ~ FIRST PITCH, 7:15 CST, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
The Cardinals have today off and will begin their series hosting the Reds Tuesday night.
Cardinals Lance Lynn (10-7/2.94 ERA) facing Reds Robert Stephenson (4-4/5.15 ERA).
Lynn is 2-0/1.59 ERA facing the Reds this season. In 17 IP, he has only given up three home runs for three earned runs and logged 13 strikeouts. He has held the Reds to a .203 BA. However, Scott Schebler and Joey Votto have been the Reds power hitters facing Lynn, holding a .750 BA and .464 BA, respectively. Lynn is 5-2/2.87 ERA at home.
The last Stephenson faced the Cardinals, April 8, he was part of Reds bullpen. He went 1.2 IP/3 ER/3 BB/3 SO in the Cardinals 10-4 win. Since July 22, he was placed in their rotation. He will make his first start against the Cardinals with four consecutive wins in his last four starts. In August, he closed the month with a 2.22 ERA. In his first start to begin September, he logged a 1.50 ERA in the Reds 9-3 win over the Brewers at home. On the road, he is 1-2/6.35 ERA. He had a shoulder issue in July and placed on the 10-Day DL, but returning to the hill he far better than the beginning of the season which for his month of April, he held a 8.71 ERA.
However, lefties facing Stephenson have hit him with a .276 BA. Coming from the right, a .262 BA. The Cardinals, only having a small sample facing him which was months ago, will need to read this new and improved hurler well.
The Reds wrap up their road trip in St. Louis. They are coming in from New York. The Mets took the four game series, 3-1, but the Reds won the last game to stay a sweep. They are 4-2 in intra-division play with a sweep over the Brewers this month. Therefore, and once again, I take no team for granted, especially our teams in the NL Central Division.
Cardinals will look to add three more wins before they head to Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs in three games to begin their road trip.