Sanchez struggles before ejection as Cardinals rout Pirates
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Friday, April 26, 2013, 11:45 p.m.
ST. LOUIS — A three-hour game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night put a lot of things — none of them good — in motion for the Pirates.
Neil Walker got a deep cut near his right index finger and likely is headed to the disabled list. Jonathan Sanchez was shelled then ejected and now is going to the bullpen (for one day, at least). Starling Marte was bruised and sore after being hit by two pitches.
Manager Clint Hurdle watched most of the 9-1 loss from the clubhouse after being ejected in the first inning. He soon was joined by hitting coach Jay Bell, who also was tossed.
“A rough night,” sighed Walker, who needed six stitches in his knuckle after being spiked by shortstop Pete Kozma in the eighth inning while trying to break up a double play.
“No (damaged) tendons or anything like that, but I'm going to have to give it a few days of no moving it,” Walker said. “The doc says hopefully in six or seven days he'll be able to take the stitches out. It's one of those freak things.”
Sanchez gave up three straight hits — two homers and a single — to start the first inning. Then he nailed Allen Craig with a fastball high on the shoulder. Sanchez was immediately ejected by umpire Tim Timmons.
“You've got two home runs, and then you've got a line-drive single up the middle, and then the very first pitch is up around the shoulder and head area,” Timmons told a pool reporter. “He threw intentionally at him, and in that area I deemed that intentional, and he's done. Very dangerous.”
After a brief, boisterous exchange with Timmons, Hurdle also was tossed.
“We disagreed,” Hurdle said. “(Sanchez) was tying to push the batter back and he clipped him.”
Hurdle indicated the Pirates will alert the commissioner's office to what they believe was a too-hasty action by Timmons.
Sanchez said it was the first time he'd been ejected.
“It surprised me,” Sanchez said. “(Timmons) said it was obvious I wanted to hit him. I said no, I just missed my spot.”
Both teams got warnings after Sanchez's ejection, but no action was taken against Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn when he twice hit Marte.
“He didn't hit him intentionally,” Timmons said.
After Marte was plunked for the second time, Bell was ejected by Timmons for yapping in the dugout.
“He wouldn't stop talking,” said umpire crew chief Mike Winters, who was stationed at first base, across the field from the Pirates' dugout.
Gaby Sanchez was nicked by a pitch in the eighth. Reliever Jared Hughes buzzed Cardinals starter Lance Lynn with a fastball on a bunt attempt.
That all could set the stage for an interesting rematch Saturday, when fiery right-hander A.J. Burnett will start for the Pirates.
Sanchez became the first Pirates starter to leave a game without recording an out since Aug. 23, 2010, when Ross Ohlendorf was felled by a sore shoulder. Because he threw only 17 pitches Friday, Sanchez will be available out of the bullpen Saturday, Hurdle said.
Even before Friday night's fireworks, Sanchez was clearly in danger of losing his job. Lefty Francisco Liriano is expected to come off the disabled list May 10, and someone will have to be jettisoned from the rotation.
In four starts, Sanchez (0-2) has pitched a total of 111⁄3 innings — lasting beyond the fourth inning only once. He has allowed 21 hits and eight walks, and his ERA is 12.71.
In the first inning, Matt Carpenter launched a full-count pitch 412 feet into the center-field seats. Carlos Beltran followed with a shot to left. Matt Holliday singled.
Sanchez's next pitch nailed Allen, who paused before walking slowly to first base.
Righty Jeanmar Gomez took over for Sanchez. If Sanchez is bounced from the rotation before Liriano arrives, Gomez — who's made 38 starts over the past three seasons for the Cleveland Indians — could take his place.
Gomez calmed down the first inning by getting the first batter he faced, Yadier Molina, to bounce into a double play.
The Cardinals got a run off Gomez in the third. Holliday walked, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Craig's single.
Lynn (4-0) wasn't really challenged by the Pirates. The right-hander gave up just two hits and amassed nine strikeouts in seven innings.
The Pirates got their run in the sixth. Garrett Jones doubled — the first hit off Lynn since Marte began the game with an infield single. Jones went to third on a grounder and scored on Pedro Alvarez's deep fly to left.
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