It almost seemed like a loss, as hard as it was to watch the Cardinals Friday night game against the Pirates.
The Birds ended up winning 4-3. But they could muster only three un-earned runs while ace Chris Carpenter was on the mound. And the bullpen robbed Carpenter of a victory when it choked up a two-run lead late in the game.
The Cardinals nearly fell behind in the bottom of the eighth when they found Pirates at first and third with no one out. A dribbler in front of the plate combined with bad Pittsburgh baserunning resulted in two Bucs at third and Molina tagged them both. The umpire called the one who had come from second out and the one who retreated back to third safe. But the latter thought he was out and stepped off the bag and the quick thinking Molina tagged him out for a double play.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina pumps his fist in celebration after completing an unassisted double play at third base. AP photo.
While Matt Holliday's bat showed signs of life, it was catcher Yadier Molina who was the hitting star. Molina was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and twice bailed out the rest of the batsmen with clutch, two-out hits. His two-out double in the ninth regained the lead and saved the win for St. Louis.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Molina
Cardinals Play of the Game: Obviously, Molina's gave winning hit was the most important play. But the most remarkable play came in the ninth when Joe Mather tried to steal second and was thrown out by several feet. But Mather pulled his lengthy arms back to avoid the tag and left Pittsburgh's shortstop standing there empty handed. If he's tagged out, the inning was over and the Cardinals wouldn't have scored the winning run.
Lowlight: Matt Holliday got nailed on a play at the plate when he was blocked by the Bucko's catcher. If he would have bowled over the backstop, the Cardinals would have never lost the lead and Carpenter wouldn't have lost his victory...