A bad start for Todd Wellemeyer with a walk. But he quickly rights himself and gets a soft tapper hit back to the mound and starts the 1-6-3 double play to quickly make it two outs with no one on. A nice snag for Pujols on a ball to his right and the toss to Wellemeyer covering quickly ends the Pirates half of the inning.
Skip Schumaker hit a dropping liner to center to lead off the Cardinals half of the first and it got past Nate McLouth, rolling to the wall. I thought for sure he had an inside the park homer. But third base coach Jose Oquendo held Skippy at third. Colby Rasmus popped to short center to fail to drive home the run. But First baseman Albert Pujols sacrificed home Schumaker for his 32nd RBI. Great play deep in the hole by the Pirates shortstop to rob Ryan Ludwick of a hit to end the inning.
Wellemeyer is leaving everything high and away to lefthanded batters. But he comes back to get the Pirates leadoff man to fly out harmlessly to left. Sweet over the back catch by Joe Thurston in foul territory to snag the second out. It was a pop-up, but a tough play near the stands. A fly out to right ends the Pittsburgh threat.
Chris Duncan leads off with a full count fly out to centerfield. A hit to right for Thurston to hopefully reverse his recent cooling off. Jason La Rue, giving Yadi Molina a rest behind the plate, grounds out to deep third to end the inning.
A strikout looking to start the third. Pirates hurler Russ Ohlendorf singled up the middle for his first major league hit. McLouth just missed sending one out of the yard for a long flyout to Ryan Ludwick in right field. Pujols ends the Bucko third by backpedaling to snare a pop-up.
Wellemeyer looked like he might walk to start the Cardinals half of the third. But after a 3-0 strike, he lined out to left. Schumaker singled and is half way to the cycle... Another can of corn fly out for Colby Rasmus who just isn't turning in good at bats these days. He really needs to start attacking the ball and try to hit line drives instead of seemingly trying to uppercut in effort to hit homers. Pujols flied to center to end the third.
Wellemeyer is settling down and coaxes an easy pop up to start the Pirates fourth, a second lazy fly for the second. Rasmus makes the grab... one handed, as usual. Would it kill these guys to use two hands? Pujols fields an easy grounder for the third out. The Cardinals need to take advantage of Welly's good start and score some more runs.
Ryan Ludwick had a nice at bat, fouling off several two-strike pitches before Ohlendorf painted the outside bottom corner with a taken fastball to put him away. Khalil Green hit a lazy grounder to the Pirates third baseman, which was throw in the dirt at first base for a two-base error. Thurston took a tough two strike pitch just off the plate. But he used his new life to send a bouncer right to second base that ended the inning.
Tsk, tsk, tsk... A second lead-off walk for Wellemeyer. He has pitched a pretty good game so far. But you can't do that when you have no margin for error. A base hit to center and now trouble is brewing. A strikeout and a pop up give the Cardinas a chance to get out of the inning without damage. No such luck. A liner to right off the bat of McLouth ties the game and there are runners on second and third. A long fly to right ends the threat.
Well, that didn't last for long. La Rue just untied the game with a solo shot into the left field bleachers. 2-1 Cardinals. Following a strikeout by Wellemeyer, Schumaker singles again. Rasmus eliminated the fly ball out streak with a bunt for a hit and now the Birds are in business with one out, two on and Pujols at the dish. Ohlendorf just hit Pujols square in the middle of the back with a pitch... I have no doubt it was intentional and Albert is in obvious pain at first base. I don't care what the score is. Wellemeyer HAS TO protect Pujols in the top of the inning. Ludwick just took a CLOSE two strike pitch... And now Ohlendorf hit Ludwick on the hip... Probably not as intentionally because it just cost him a run. Duncan sacrificed home a run, then Khalil Green pulled on over the third baseman's head to drive in two more and the beating is on... Way to punish this punk pitcher. 5-1 Cardinals. Thurston ended the inning with a pop up.
A nice running snag by Duncan to get the first out... the second man is quickly retired... A popout to third quickly ends the top of the sixth. I think Wellemeyer needs to go after McLouth to defend Pujols.
A WIIIIIIDE strike three is called to retire LaRue. Wellemeyer whiffs... But then Schumaker walks for his fourth time on base in the game. He gets picked off trying a delayed steal to end the sixth.
A lazy pop out to put one away. Robinson Diaz nearly hit the ball into Big Mac land for a solo shot to cut the score to 5-2. Strike out. Two away. A pinch hitter for Ohlendorf, saving him from the obvious opportunity to recieve a little payback. But I don't think it's wise to plunk the pitcher. If they hit your star, you hit their star. That way their star gets in the pitcher's face and says "what are you trying to do to me?" Three strikes, three outs and the inning is over for Pittsburgh.
Evan Meek (0-0, 2.70) is in to pitch for the Pirates. Quickly two outs as Pujols grounds out to the left side. Ludwick just came about a foot away from an opposite field homer... But it landed in the glove, not the bullpen.
Trever Miller is in to relieve for the Cardinals. McLouth goes down on strikes. A shallow pop out to center ends Miller's day and the hard throwing righty Blaine Boyer is coming in. Boyer's curve is MOVING. The first one was nasty. Whiffffffffffff.... Three outs.
A whiff for Duncan starts the Cardinals eighth. With a man on first and two outs, rookie Shane Robinson is on deck and hoping for his first MLB at bat. And he'll get it with a botched outfield play by Craig Monoe in left that is called a ground rule double. Nice that John Ulett pointed out it is Robinson's debut. A grounder to short gave Robinson a chance to show off his wheels, but he is nipped at the bag. the Cardinals are three outs away from salvaging the short home stand and giving the Bucs some much needed payback.
A nice diving play up the middle for Thurston to get the first out of the night. The best Cardinals defensive play of the game. A strikeout and an easy third out give the Cardinals a winner. Franklin is really in the groove for his ninth save.
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Cardinals 1 0 0 0 4 0 0 0