Cardinals grab victory over pitcher Cole, Pirates with a late rally
ST. LOUIS — For six innings Monday, Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole held his own against a lineup he rates as one of the toughest in the National League.
That's not to say Cole had it easy against the St. Louis Cardinals. There was tension in the third inning when Matt Holliday flicked a two-run double.
In the fourth, Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn caused a stir with a deep fly ball that pushed center fielder Andrew McCutchen to the wall before dying.
“You have to be on your game when you face these guys,” Cole said. “They grind, grind, grind and then — bam! — they murder you.”
The Cardinals finally got to Cole in the seventh, scoring three runs to steal a 5-4 victory that put them in the driver's seat in the division title race.
The Cardinals (74-63) moved into sole possession of first place in the NL Central. The Pirates (71-66) remain stuck in third, three games behind St. Louis and two behind second-place Milwaukee.
With 25 games to play, the Pirates trail San Francisco, Milwaukee and Atlanta for the two NL wild-card berths. The Pirates have two games remaining against the Cardinals, three against the Brewers and four against the Braves.
“It's going to be tough all the way through September,” catcher Russell Martin said. “We know that.”
The Pirates led 3-0 after two innings and 4-2 when Cole (7-5) took the mound in the seventh. With one out, Pete Kozma singled to left. Kolten Wong drove a 1-2 fastball into the home team's bullpen — the first pinch-hit homer by the Cardinals this season.
“Kolten's a really good hitter,” Cole said, “and I threw it right in his wheelhouse.”
Jon Jay followed with a triple to the left-field corner. Right-hander John Axford replaced Cole and walked Oscar Taveras on five pitches. Holliday pulled a single into left field to score Jay with the go-ahead run.
“We got the ground ball we wanted (from Holliday),” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It just found a hole.”
Holliday has collected 12 RBIs over his past three games. He has driven in the winning run in each of the Cardinals' past four victories.
“He's probably the strongest human in the world,” Cole said. “You jam him, and he puts it on the warning track in right-center. You get him out on his front foot, and he almost rips (shortstop Jordy) Mercer's glove off with one hand on the bat. He's just tough.”
Lynn was hit hard over the first two innings, when he threw 52 total pitches and gave up five hits. But he blanked the Pirates from the third through the sixth.
“It's a little frustrating, not capitalizing on some of their mistakes,” Martin said.
In the fourth, Harrison was at second with one out when Andrew Lambo tapped an infield roller. Catcher Yadier Molina made an easy throw to first base, but Matt Adams muffed the catch and the ball ticked into right field.
“As I was running, I took a peek and saw it tip off Adams' glove,” Harrison said. “They don't make many throwing mistakes, so I took a shot.”
Backing up the play, second baseman Kozma got to the ball in a hurry. His throw beat Harrison to the plate.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mercer’s improved defense at shortstop gives Pirates a boost
- 20 improbable Pirates wins in 2014
- It’s official: Volquez to start Wednesday for Pirates
- Tekulve to throw out 1st pitch of Pirates’ postseason
- Rossi: No matter outcome, Pirates arrive
- Inside the decision: Pirates chose their own adventure
- Pirates notebook: Reds deny intent after Cueto plunks McCutchen
- Pirates bench coach Banister interviews for Astros manager job
- Despite loss to Reds, Pirates’ hopes for division still alive
- Pirates to open 2015 in Cincinnati; home opener will feature Detroit
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant