After the Pirates scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning, it looked like another wasted day for the Cardinals, who had scored just two runs in the previous 18 innings and had just two hits in the game so far.
The Cardinals came back to take the lead, in the fifth, saw the Pirates tie it in the eighth before the Cardinals scored in the 12th to win 6-5 on Thursday at Busch Stadium.
"There's no question there's something extra that plays into this," manager Mike Matheny said. "We talked about it before the series started, we wanted to play different than how we did in Pittsburgh and I think the guys played hard, they really did. Any time having a walkoff win is a big deal and having won this series is a big deal and jumping on it again today shows the resiliency of this club. They just kept playing the game right."
"That was a good one," said second baseman Matt Carpenter, who went four for five and walked in the 12th and came around to score the winning run. "That was a lot of fun. A big win for us, walk-off style. It was big, they're the team we're chasing now and the team we're chasing in the division, one of our biggest competitors in the division, obviously to win that, especially in the fashion that we did, two walk-off wins in extra innings, is a lot of fun, and we needed that. Hopefully we can keep this going."
With one out in the 12th, Carpenter walked, the fifth time he reached in the game, and he went to third on a single by Jon Jay through the hole between first and second. Matt Holliday, who earlier had extended his hitting streak to 12 games, singled up the middle to score Carpenter.
The win gave the Cardinals two wins in the three-game series and cut the Pirates lead in the NL Central back to two games.
The Pirates scored four times in the fifth, with a two-run homer by shortstop Clint Barmes off Lance Lynn and a triple by Starling Marte.
The Cardinals then went wild, scoring five runs in the fifth on six hits, including two doubles and a triple. (Home runs are still taboo for the Cards.) A single by Matt Adams, a double by David Freese, a single by Daniel Descalso, an out by Lance Lynn and a triple by Matt Carpenter cut the Pirates lead to 4-3. An RBI single by Jon Jay tied the game and the Cards went ahead when Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen failed on a diving try for a fly ball by Matt Holliday and it went for a double. That was it for Pirates starter A.J. Burnett, and the Cardinals had a 5-4 lead.
The Cardinals carried that lead into the eighth, when Pirates catcher Russell Martin hit the second pitch from reliever Trevor Rosenthal for a home run to right to tie the game.
Carpenter's double in the fourth was his 40th of the season, the most by a Cardinal since Matt Holliday had 45 in 2010. Kevin Siegrist got his first major-league win.
CARDS PIRATES GO TO EXTRA INNINGS
The Cardinals and Pirates are going to extra innings with the game tied at 5-5. The Pirates are 9-6 in extra innings this season, the Cardinals 2-5. It's the second game of the three-game series to go extra innings. The teams played 14 innings on Tuesday, with the Cardinals winning 4-3.
Kevin Siegrist is pitching for the Cardinals in the 12th. To avoid having him lead off the bottom of the inning, the Cards had to double switch Matt Adams out of the game. Adron Chambers is now playing right, Allen Craig first.
PIRATES TIE GAME ON HOMER IN EIGHTH
Trevor Rosenthal's second pitch of the game was turned into a home run by Pirates catcher Russell Martin to tie the game at 5-5 at Busch.
Rosenthal came on to pitch the eighth inning, replacing Randy Choate after he struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the seventh with runners on first and second. Rosenthal gave up a one-out double to Jose Tabata before getting the next two outs.
CARDS ANSWER WITH FIVE RUNS TO TAKE LEAD
After having scored just two runs in the previous 18 innings, the Cardinals exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, wiping out a 4-0 Pirates lead and going ahead 5-4.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett had allowed just two hits in the first four innings, both to second baseman Matt Carpenter. But the Cardinals offense went wild.
Matt Adams led off with a single, followed by a double in the right-field corner that put runners on second and third. Daniel Descalso singled to drive in two runs to cut the lead to 4-2. After Lance Lynn popped out on a bunt attempt, Matt Carpenter hit a smash into the right-field corner for a triple that scored Descalso to make it 4-3. In three at-bats, Carpenter has a single, double and triple.
Jon Jay hit an RBI single to right to tie the game. Matt Holliday then hit a fly ball to center that Andrew McCutchen tried but failed to make a diving catch on. The ball got past him and Jay came all the way around to score with Holliday going to second with a double. That was it for Burnett, who came out for Vin Mazzaro, who retired Allen Craig and Yadier Molina to end the inning.
The Cardinals bullpen had to pitch out of trouble in the sixth and seventh. Seth Maness struck out Clint Barmes with runners on second and third with two out in the sixth. In the seventh, after pinch hitter Josh Harrison led off with a double and was bunted to second, the Cardinals brought the infield in against Neil Walker, who hit a grounder to Matt Adams, who threw home and Harrison was out in a rundown. Walker went to second on the play, and after an intentional walk to McCutchen, Randy Choate came in and struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the inning.
PIRATES HIT LYNN FOR FOUR RUNS IN FIFTH
After four scoreless innings, the Pirates needed just seven pitches in the fifth inning to score three runs on the Cardinals, and then they added another run to take a 4-0 lead.
Garrett Jones led off with a single to right, followed by Andrew Lambo's first big-league hit, an RBI double to the wall in right center. Then on a 1-1 pitch, shortstop Clint Barmes, hitting .220 with two home runs this year, put one in the stands in left field, 393 feet away, to make it 3-0.
After Pirates starer A.J. Burnett struck out looking, Starling Marte tripled to right center, giving the Pirates a cycle for the inning. Neil Walker flew out to deep center to easily score Marte and make it 4-0.
Both Jones' leadoff single and Marte's triple came on 0-2 pitches.
CARDS, PIRATES SCORELESS THROUGH FOUR
The final game of the Cardinals-Pirates series has turned into a pitchers' duel.
The game is scoreless through four innings at Busch Stadium on a beautiful Thursday afternoon.
Cards starter Lance Lynn allowed a base runner in each of the first four innings but has gotten out of trouble each time. He got help in the first when Starling Marte led off with a double but with two outs and slugger Pedro Alvarez, a left-handed hitter, at the plate, he was thrown out trying to steal third by Yadier Molina. Why Marte would try to go to third in that situation was a head scratcher.
The Cardinals had two hits in the first four innings, both by Matt Carpenter. Carpenter also had the only Cardinals hit after the fifth inning on Wednesday, and the rest of the team is 0 for 26 since then. The Cardinals had runners on second and third with two out in the fourth and Molina at the plate, but he grounded out to short to end the inning. Molina fouled in his first at-bat, which was preceded by a standing ovation by the Busch faithful.
MOLINA BACK, BATTING FIFTH
Yadier Molina is back in the starting lineup for the Cardinals today and batting fifth in their 12:45 p.m. game with Pirates. To make room for him on the roster, the Cardinals put Tony Cruz, who had been catching in Molina's absence, on the DL.
Outfielder Shane Robinson is also back off the disabled list and Jermaine Curtis was sent back to Triple A Memphis.
General manager John Mozeliak said Cruz had been playing with a microfracture in his left arm for about two months. Initially, the team thought that Cruz would be able to get through the season, but the increased playing time that came from Molina being hurt exacerbated the injury. Mozeliak said it didn't effect Cruz's catching or throwing, but it did effect his swing. Cruz, who started at catcher in 11 of the 14 games Molina missed, is hitting .212.
Said Mozeliak: "Strategically, we looked at, well, with Yadi only playing a couple days then off, that type of model, could Cruz benefit from that and medically speaking, they thought the best thing for him was to shut down from swinging for at least seven to 10 days. So that's what we're going to do.
"From out standpoint, as much as we did not want to put him on the DL because he could be an asset to us, I think it's just not fair to him. He needs time to recuperate and allow that arm to get better and this is the only way to do that."
Mozeliak said the Cardinals had kept backup catcher Rob Johnson on the roster for fear he would be claimed on waivers by another team if they attempted to send him down to Memphis. Now, with Cruz on the DL, Johnson is Molina's backup. Mozeliak said that Cruz's situation would not mean increased playing time for Molina and the team would stick by its plan for getting Molina sufficient rest going forward no matter who was his backup.
"It can't," he said. "It has to be independent."
Matt Holliday takes an 11-game hitting streak into today's game.
The Cards bullpen struck out seven of the nine batters it faced on Wednesday.
Oscar Taveras is having surgery on his high ankle sprain on Wednesday.
Obscure fact du jour: Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano on Wednesday became the first Pirate pitcher with a complete-game win on the road against at team that was at least 15 games over .500 since Kris Benson did it on July 27, 1999 against the Mets.
Pirates starer A.J. Burnett is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts this year against the Cards. That's the lowest ERA against the Cards this season by someone with at least 20 innings. Three other pitchers have beaten the Cardinals twice this season: Mat Latos, Josh Collmenter and Ricky Nolasco.
1. Carpenter 2b
2. Jay cf
3. Holliday lf
4. Craig rf
5. Molina c
6. Adams 1b
7. Freese 3b
8. Descalso ss
9. Lynn P
1. Marte lf
2. Walker 2b
3. McCutchen cf
4. Alvarez 3b
5. Martin c
6. Jones 1b
7. Lambo rf
8. Barmes ss
9. Burnett p