Walk-off homer by Cardinals sinks Pirates for 2nd night in a row
ST. LOUIS — Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri threw 17 pitches in the ninth inning Tuesday. Of those, 15 were fastballs.
It turned out to be one fastball too many. Kolten Wong homered on a full-count pitch with two outs, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pirates, 5-4.
“He saw my fastball too many times,” Frieri said.
It was the second game in a row the Pirates lost to the Cardinals on a walk-off homer.
The Pirates had runners on first and second with one out in the top ninth but failed to cash in. Trevor Rosenthal (1-4) got Gregory Polanco to fly out softly to center, then struck out Starling Marte.
Jhonny Peralta started the bottom of inning against Frieri (1-1) with a groundout. Oscar Taveras struck out looking.
Frieri got ahead against Wong by firing a pair of 94 mph fastballs for strikes. A changeup in the dirt evened the count 2-2. After a sinker missed, Frieri came back with a 95 mph four-seamer.
“I knew he was going to try to put a good swing on the ball,” Frieri said. “I didn't want to walk him and put the winning run on base. I was trying to keep the ball down, but I missed. It was a really good at-bat for him. He got the pitch he was looking for.”
Wong jacked it 420 feet over the right-field wall.
In four outings since being traded to the Pirates, Frieri has yielded six runs on nine hits in three innings.
“I'm going through a lot of crazy things right now,” Frieri said. “But my arm feels good. I've got to keep working.”
The Pirates overcame an early deficit and went up 4-2 on a pair of two-run homers by Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen. However, right-hander Vance Worley was unable to hold the lead.
Worley worked five innings and allowed four runs on nine hits. He struck out three.
“He was up in the zone more than in all his previous outings,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “And he was not as sharp within the strike zone. The cutters and sliders were inconsistent.”
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez began the year in the bullpen and still leads the National League with five blown saves. He moved into the rotation after injuries knocked out Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly and Jaime Garcia.
“He's been pitching well, gaining confidence with every outing,” Hurdle said. “Before, we'd get a one-inning look at him. Now we get an extended look. He's a different pitcher now. He's learning how to pitch. More pitches are coming into play, rather than just letting (the fastball) eat out there and spinning the ball on occasion.”
Martinez has a fastball that touches 100 mph, the kind of juice that let him whiff McCutchen in the first inning with a runner on third and one out.
The Pirates didn't score in that inning and also missed chances in the second and third. Trailing 2-0 in the fourth, Alvarez stepped to the plate with Ike Davis at first base.
Martinez got ahead 0-2 with a pair of fastballs, then spun a curveball. Alvarez whacked it 412 feet to center field for a game-tying homer. It was Alvarez's 100th career home run.
Polanco led off the fifth with a single. With one out, Martinez faced McCutchen for the third time. Martinez came at him first pitch with his best stuff, a 98 mph four-seamer.
McCutchen blasted a 382-foot, opposite-field homer to put the Pirates up 4-2.
Worley wasn't able to hold the lead long. In the bottom of the fifth, the Cardinals used three straight hits, including Matt Holliday's two-run double, to tie it at 4.
“There were only a couple of pitches that hurt me,” Worley said. “The hits weren't anything where I was saying, ‘Oh, I really missed my spots.' The RBI doubles (by Holliday and Wong) were good pitches for them to hit, and they took advantage of it.”
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.
- Pirates fall short in bid for Lester, who’s traded to Oakland
- Shooting investigation leads to large marijuana grow in Monessen
- EPA talks on pollution limits trigger protests, arrests Downtown
- Spaling, Penguins agree to $4.4 million deal
- After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
- Calm and quick Leechburg bank robber sought
- It’s lights out for Bayer sign on Mt. Washington
- Pa. senator investigates Rocky Mountain high at taxpayers’ expense
- Oakland eatery Fuel & Fuddle to reopen under new owners
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’
- Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation