The St. Louis Cardinals did it again.
The late inning meltdowns are fun to watch — especially last night, when it’s the Pittsburgh Pirates causing the pain.
After the bullpen did more outstanding work throwing up zeros on the PNC Park scoreboard, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle made all kinds of moves in the Bucs big eighth inning. Pinch runners, pinch hitters and most importantly, Hurdle was able to get the Bucs to respond.
The Bucs showed some high leverage production. The team counter-punched the moves of Tony LaRussa, which made us smile.
The Bucs manufactured some runs early in the game, but the magic show was saved for the eighth inning. Derrek Lee started it with a walk off former Bucco Octavio Dotel. Chase d’Arnaud pinch ran for Lee.
LaRussa made a move to get Doumit to bat from the right side. Dewey doubled to right field and Chase scored to tie the game. Ryan Ludwick was walked intentionally.
Then, with the lefty on the bump, Jeff Banister and Clint Hurdle waved Pedro Alvarez back to the dugout and inserted Josh Harrison who looked awfully anxious and struckout swinging at a ball in the dirt.
With two outs, JJ “JHammer” Jaramillo walked to load the bases and up to the plate rolled Pedro. The other Pedro.
The fact that it was Pedro Ciriaco who Hurdle went to in such a clutch situation is just mind bending, but sure enough Pedro belted the breaking ball into right field, and made it all the more enjoyable.
Just when everyone thought the Bucs were going to fade away, the team puts together a comeback like this over a Cards team that is fighting for their playoff lives.
Joel Hanrahan got his 37th save despite allowing a run on a two-strike ball in the dirt that got by Jaramillo. With runners on second and third Hanrantor got another whiff and the dusty jolly roger was headed skyward.
St. Louis failed to gain ground on the Atlanta Braves, who lost again in 12 innings, leaving the Cardinals 4.5 games back. The Brewers were off and hold a 6.5 game advantage in the NL Central. As for the Bucs, well… they are still ahead of the Cubs.
The video highlights are here….