Game 23: Pirates 5 Cardinals 3

I'm not sure what possessed Mike Matheny to take Jake Westbrook out of the game after six shutout innings and only 91 pitches, but the move certainly went appreciated by the Pirates and their fans. As soon as Westbrooke came out of the game, Pedro Alvarez singled and Russell Martin homered to turn a 2-0 deficit into a tie game. Then Clint Barmes singled, James McDonald came in and pinch-bunted for AJ Burnett (more on this in a second), and Starling Marte drew a walk. That was it for Kelly, but Trevor Rosenthal wasn't much better. He came in and drilled Jose Tabata to load the bases, then walked Andrew McCutchen to put the Pirates ahead, then surrendered a fourth run on a Garrett Jones ground out. 

From there, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, and Jason Grilli held the Cards to one run in the last three innings and the Pirates tacked on a fifth run for good measure, stealing a comeback win in St. Louis. Maybe this shouldn't have come as a huge surprise. The Cardinals' bullpen has been one of baseball's worst this year, while the Pirates' bullpen has been nearly impeccable. Still, late come from behind wins are always nice, particularly when they're driven the lower part of the lineup, like this one was. Any time you can get a win after an ugly loss like Friday's, it's very welcome. 

*One quick note: both James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez were used as pinch-hitters today. This is what happens when you're carrying John McDonald along with Brandon Inge and then you decide that an injured Neil Walker won't go on the disabled list. This week is going to see a very thin bench.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.