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Cards secure sweep on Yadi's dash home

2014-09-03T16:00:00Z 2014-09-04T08:07:09Z Cards secure sweep on Yadi's dash homeBY TOM TIMMERMANN ttimmermann@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8190 stltoday.com

Starting pitchers Edinson Volquez of the Pirates and Shelby Miller of the Cardinals were dominant on Wednesday afternoon, and they and their bullpens kept the final game of their three-game series scoreless until the ninth.

That's when Yadier Molina walked on a 3-2 pitch with two outs, went to second on a single by Jon Jay and scored on a single by Peter Bourjos to give the Cardinals a 1-0 win and a three-game sweep of their series with the Pirates.

Bourjos grounded his hit up the middle and Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo never hesitated in waving home Molina, who slid across the plate in beating throw by center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Teammates raced from the dugout to mob Bourjos and hoist him into the air.

"I was just hoping that Yadi was able to score," Bourjos said. "I wasn't too sure where McCutchen was playing out there. I didn't know if he was playing shallow or deep, but, luckily, Yadi was able to beat the play."

"Big situation, he did a great job," manager Mike Matheny said of Bourjos, who was in the starting lineup even though the Pirates started a right-hander, which would normally mean Oscar Taveras in right. "He's been swinging the bat well, he has a real nice approach. He's not trying to do too much but he's coming up big for us."

"I think you try slow everything down and keep it simple, not try to do too much," Bourjos said. "That's exactly what I tried to do. The ball really slowed down for me there."

Matheny said he never considered pinch running for Molina when he was on second in the ninth.

"There were certainly plenty of people in the first several rows that thought Yadi should be run for," Matheny said. "His value to me behind the plate outweighs what we'll get on the bases. ... If he gets thrown out at the plate, it's a different conversation we're having. I'd still have the same answer. We need him back there. He got this thing going. It's nice to see him help finish it."

Miller, who came out after seven innings, struck out five, walked three and allowed three hits, a single by Starling Marte in the second, a single by Neil Walker in the fourth and a leadoff double by Walker in the seventh. Volquez didn't allow a hit until the fifth, when Jay and Bourjos started the inning with back-to-back singles. Miller bunted them to second and third, but Volquez struck out Matt Carpenter (looking) and Kolten Wong (swinging) to get out of the inning. The Cardinals got a hit in the sixth from Matt Adams, who was hitless in his previous 10 at-bats.

"(Shelby) is really where this thing starts," Matheny said. "That was one of his best starts. That's probably as well as I've seen him pitch, how he used his secondary pitches. He knew he had to going into this game and something he's had trouble with with these guys. He showed a very good curve ball, showed an opportunity to show his changeup and not much of a cutter, at times he did, and then had a good fastball that was running both ways. He and Yadi, it was fun to watch. They were on the same page. They were having some success with it."

Volquez came out in the seventh after Jay walked and was sacrificed to second by Bourjos. Tony Watson came on in relief and Jay was thrown out trying to steal third and then pinch hitter Randal Grichuk struck out to end the inning.

Carlos Martinez came on for Miller in the eighth and gave up a walk to pinch hitter Gregory Polanco after he thought he had him struck out earlier in the count. Josh Harrison tried to bunt him to second but struck out. Kolten Wong made an outstanding sliding stop on a ground ball by Andrew Lambo, getting the out at first while Polanco took third. That brought up Andrew McCutchen, who Martinez struck out on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. A visibly excited Martinez was pounding his chest as he walked off the field.

Both benches were warned when Miller threw a ball behind McCutchen in the sixth inning. Before the bottom of the sixth, Yadier Molina and Mike Matheny were yelling toward the Pirates from the Cards dugout, and home plate umpire Ron Kulpa had to step between Pirates catcher Russell Martin and the Cardinals.

The Pirates threatened in the seventh after Walker's double. He went to third on a fly out by Martin. The Carinals intentionally walked Ike Davis and Miller then got Marte to line out to second and Jordy Mercer to fly out to center to end the inning.  

Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth and got the win.

The Cardinals come into the game with a 2-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central. The Brewers play at Chicago tonight. The Brewers play tonight in Chicago.

BOX SCORE: Cardinals 1, Pirates 0

CARDS TALK: Game Day Thread vs. Pirates


PITCHERS DUEL AT BUSCH

Starting pitchers Edinson Volquez of the Pirates and Shelby Miller of the Cardinals were dominant and the teams were tied at 0-0 after seven innings on Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Miller, who came out after seven innings, struck out five, walked three and allowed three hits, a single by Starling Marte in the second, a single by Neil Walker in the fourth and a leadoff double by Walker in the seventh. Volquez didn't allow a hit until the fifth, when Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos started the inning with back-to-back singles. Miller bunted them to second and third, but Volquez struck out Matt Carpenter (looking) and Kolten Wong (swinging) to get out of the inning. The Cardinals got a hit in the sixth from Matt Adams, who was hitless in his previous 10 at-bats.

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Volquez came out in the seventh after Jay walked and was sacrificed to second by Bourjos. Tony Watson came on in relief and Jay was thrown out trying to steal third and then pinch hitter Randal Grichuk struck out to end the inning.

Both benches were warned when Miller threw a ball behind Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen in the sixth inning. Before the bottom of the sixth, Yadier Molina and Mike Matheny were yelling toward the Pirates from the Cards dugout, and home plate umpire Ron Kulpa had to step between Pirates catcher Russell Martin and the Cardinals.

The Pirates threatened in the seventh after Walker's double. He went to third on a fly out by Martin. The Carinals intentionally walked Ike Davis and Miller then got Marte to line out to second and Jordy Mercer to fly out to center to end the inning.  

The Cardinals come into the game with a 2-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central. The Brewers play at Chicago tonight. The Brewers play tonight in Chicago.

TAVERAS SITS, BOURJOS STARTS

Oscar Taveras gets the day off, even with the Pirates starting a righthander, while Peter Bourjos starts in the finale of the Cardinals' series with the Pirates. It's an early start, 12:45 p.m. at Busch Stadium.

Taveras and Bourjos are heading in opposite directions right now. Taveras has two hits in his past 20 at-bats while Bourjos has three hits in his past seven. Bourjos went 2 for 4 yesterday, with the Pirates starting lefty Jeff Locke, but today, they throw righthander Edinson Volquez, who is 11-7 with a 3.45 ERA.

"It's all about today," manager Mike Matheny said. "We're in September. We saw Pete put together two really good at-bats that were pivotal points in the game yesterday. None of us are going to begin to doubt what he can do when he get in the outfield. Shelby being a guy who gets the ball in the air, we have big gaps, we love having that defense out there with Jon Jay and Peter. But not just the defense. Peter's been putting together some good at-bats, not just against the lefties. The other day he made some outs and they were all hard outs. It's what we've always done. Who's going to help us best tonight? Peter Bourjos has done a real nice job with the opportunities we've given him.

"We need to keep Oscar sharp. We know he comes off the bench well. He's going to be in there. But today, we had a good feeling that Peter's going to do something to help us win."

Bourjos will start in center field, moving the hot-hitting Jon Jay over to right.

Matt Adams is struggling but still in the lineup. He's hitless in his past nine at-bats and his batting average is down to .291. Matheny thinks Adams is very close to getting back in his groove.

"I see a guy we worked very hard," Matheny said, "and kept riding, riding, riding all the way to September being one of our best hitters and one of the best hitters in the league. I think it’s only natural that you’re going to have that time when it catches up. Fortunately, we have some other guys who are have started clicking and are taking some of the pressure off him being that guy. Just watching him in the cage today and him yesterday, he’s real close. Just a day for him here or there of rest could mean a lot. I think he’s just about to take off again."

Matheny said they would monitor the situation and give Adams a day off if they thought it was needed.

The Cardinals start Shelby Miller, who hasn't posted a win since July 31. The Cardinals have lost four of Miller's past five starts, though Miller has taken the loss in only one of them.

Matheny said Mark Ellis, just off the disabled list, is ready to play after looking good in the batting cage today. 

Cardinals lineup:

1. Carpenter 3b

2. Wong 2b

3. Holliday lf

4. Adams 1b

5. Peralta ss

6. Molina c

7. Jay rf

8. Bourjos cf

9. Miller p

Pirates lineup:

1. Harrison 3B

2. Lambo RF

3. McCutchen CF

4. Walker 2B

5. Martin C

6. Davis 1B

7. Marte LF

8. Mercer SS

9. Volquez P

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