First baseman Matt Carpenter made a diving stop to his left of Gregory Polanco’s bases-loaded smash against Kevin Siegrist to smash to end the eighth.
The Pirates’ rally was fueled by errors by Carpenter and shortstop Greg Garcia. Carpenter’s came on a routine throw from Siegrist.
“I was just trying to stay locked in and make a play to get us out of an ugly inning,” Carpenter said. “Thankfully, Siegrist made another good pitch and worked his way out of it. I was able to make a play for him.”
Siegrist appeared to have Andrew McCutchen struck out with a 2-2 pitch, but did not get the ball from plate umpire Eric Cooper. McCutchen coaxed a walk to jam the bases and get Polanco to the plate.
“Hopefully, this will be the momentum we need heading into the rest of the season,” Carpenter said.
Wacha gets win
Michael Wacha improved to 2-1 with 6 2/3 strong innings. He surrendered four hits, one of them a home run to Josh Bell in the fourth, walked two and struck out three.
“I don’t think guys were freaking out at all,” Wacha said of the Cardinals starting the homestand with a 3-9 record. “We understand it’s a long season and we understand we weren’t playing our best baseball out of the gate. You’re never as bad as you think you are; you’re never as good as you think you are. That’s the approach we have.”
Matheny said Wacha’s outing was key considering Oh and Brett Cecil couldn’t pitch.
“He was terrific,” Matheny said. “When we have games like that, 2-1, and he gives up just a solo shot, we have to make a big deal out of that. We had to have it and he delivered. He had a good fastball. I still see him getting better. The cutter and the curve are becoming bigger weapons every time he gets out there.”
Cardinals starters allowed two runs in 20 innings in the series.
“These were big wins,” Wacha said. “We played three tight games. We were able to win all three of them. We’ve just got to carry that momentum on the road.”
Shortstop Aledmys Diaz was stuck in an 0-for-18 slump that dropped his average to .214 entering Wednesday. He didn’t start, but had a pinch-hit infield single in the eighth.
Greg Garcia played shortstop for Diaz; it was Garcia’s fourth consecutive start.
Diaz is seeking to rediscover his swing with video work and he’s expected to play in the four-game series in Milwaukee that begins at 7:10 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s just to give him a little break,” Matheny said of Diaz being idled Wednesday. “He came in and got some early work with his swing and seemed to be in a really good spot.”
Diaz had hits in his first two at-bats Friday, but his skid began in his next two at-bats and carried over into games Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
“It’s the exact same thing like you see with Dexter,” Matheny said. “You’re used to seeing those drawn-out at-bats. So it comes down to seeing the ball. He jumped in really early and was swinging the bat well. He was aggressive and was getting a lot of rewards for that. He’s going to have to go back to seeing it, trusting his eyes and grinding out at-bats.”