The Pittsburgh Pirates had every opportunity to grab a series win against the St. Louis Cardinals, but failed to deliver when it mattered most. The team didn’t have timely hitting as Andrew McCutchen continues to struggle with teammates in scoring position. Starting pitcher Erik Bedard couldn’t get Yadier Molina out, nor could most Buccos pitchers as Molina had three hits and two RBI to lead the Cardinals to a big 5-4 win Saturday.
St. Louis pulled within a game of Pittsburgh for the second NL wild-card spot.
The Pirates had numerous opportunities, but none was bigger than when the Bucs loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Jason Motte. Unfortunately, only one run was pushed across the plate and that came on Andrew McCutchen’s infield out. The white hot Garrett Jones worked a 3-0 count, but let his bat fly and would whiff.
“He’s your cleanup hitter and arguably as hot as anyone we have on the team,” Hurdle said.
Somehow Josh Harrison is still on the big league club, and bounced out to set the final.
“We’re going to play the game to win it. We’re not going to be afraid to make a mistake or play on our heels.”
We don’t agree with Hurdle’s statement. Playing the game to win it means having the most talented players in the right situation to succeed. If the Texas Rangers can pull Roy Oswalt after 4.2 innings, it would make perfect sense to do the same with Bedard. Even with the Pirates having the pitcher spot coming up fourth the next inning.
The Bucs went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. The club struck out 14 times. One bright spot was Jordy Mercer went 2 for 4 and drove in two, but had to leave the game after being hit in the hand in the ninth inning.
Starling Marte also left the game and it appeared to be an oblique injury of some kind. Marte bunted for a base hit, perhaps because he was unable to swing the bat. Thus, the already short Pirates bench may need bolstering today as Jaime Garcia is expected to come off the disabled list to start today’s series finale against Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens.