Game 51: Yankees 6, Cardinals 4

Posted by Scott Wuerz on May 26, 2014 

With men on second and third and one out in the top of the 12th I could understand why St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would order lefty relief pitcher Randy Choate to intentionally walk lefty hitter Ichiro Suzuki.

Ichiro is a supurb bunter who could easily put the ball someplace that would push the go-ahead run across the plate. By putting him on you have a force out at any base with a righty hitter coming up. Jason Motte, experienced at wiggling out of similar tight situations, was warm and ready to go in the bullpen.

What I can't figure out is why Matheny left Motte standing on the bullpen mound, his hand on his hip, while Choate was allowed to serve up the pitch that allowed the New York Yankees to take the lead.

It wasn't the only questionable pitching decision made in the game.

After seven innings, Matheny pulled starting pitcher Michael Wacha for a pinch hitter in a tie game. While it seemed as the game was getting late, the St. Louis starter had only thrown 83 pitches and seemed to have at least one more inning left in the tank, maybe more.

Shane Robinson, who was batting .161 with a .229 on-base percentage before his pinch hitting appearance, didn't seem like a very attractive alternative to letting Wacha continue to throw. But there he was at the plate to quickly be dispatched.

The Cardinals failed to score through two scoreless innings by Carlos Martinez and another from Trevor Rosenthal, the latter of which was very wild for some reason.

Pat Neshek held the Yankees down in the 11th and it seemed like the Birds were poised to score the winning run in the bottom of the frame when Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch as he led off. Matt Adams ripped a line drive to right that was tracked down by Ichiro. Then Yadier Molina was robbed of a home run at the left field wall. When Allen Craig flied out, the Cardinals had missed on their last, best chance and it was a matter of waiting for the second and third choices in the bullpen to crack.

 

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