CARDINALS 4 – PIRATES 2
Win: Michael Wacha (14-4)
Loss: Gerrit Cole (14-6)
Save: Trevor Rosenthal (35)
The Pittsburgh Pirates (65-46) fell to seven games out of first place with a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals (73-40) tonight and their hold on the top wildcard spot is getting smaller as a walkoff Cubs win over the Brewers moved Chicago to just 1.5 games out of top wildcard spot.
For the second straight night, Pirate miscues saw a winnable game be wasted.
The Pirates defensively just aren’t a below average defensive team, they’re a bad defensive team and the bad fundamentals don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
If anything, it’s only going to cement Jordy Mercer as the starting shortstop when he returns.
After falling behind 2-0 in the third inning, Andrew McCutchen homered in fourth to cut the Cardinals lead to 2-1 and McCutchen delivered again in the fifth with an RBI triple, scoring Gregory Polanco to tie the game at 2-2.
In the sixth inning, Yadier Molina tripled in the go-ahead run when Gregory Polanco missed an attempted shoe-top catch and the Cardinals pushed Cole out of the game with three straight hits in the inning, including RBIs from Molina and Stephen Piscotty.
Cole who has won just once out of the All-Star break, went 5 1/3 innings, allowing 7 hits and 4 runs (3 ER) in the loss. Cole struck out 6 and walked 2. His fastball location was lacking at times tonight.
“Fastball location was subpar,” Cole told reporters after the game.
With a rotation right now that includes Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke and J.A. Happ as the No. 3 – No. 5 starters, there is added pressure for the Pirates when Cole is on the mound to come out with W’s and poor defensive play behind Cole is becoming even more magnified in the dog days of August.
Neil Walker and Jung Ho Kang each had errors and the Pirates had two misplays in the field from Polanco in the sixth and Pedro Alvarez at one point.
“These guys are out there giving 100% every night,” Cole said of the continued subpar defensive play behind him. “We’re at a tough venue, playing tough team, really magnifies any mistakes you make.”
Player Notes (Starting Nine)
1. Gregory Polanco – Polanco had three hits for the second straight game, tying franchise record for six straight hits. He was 3-4 with a run scored, walk.
2. Starling Marte – 0-2 at the plate. Marte removed before the bottom of the third because of discomfort in his left hand from fouling off a ball in the first.
3. Andrew McCutchen – hit his 18th home run of the season in the fourth and drove in Polanco with an RBI triple in the fifth. Was 2-4 with home run, 2 RBIs
4. Aramis Ramirez – 1-4 with a strike out.
5. Jung Kang – 2-3 with a double, SO, BB. Kang doubled off Wacha to right center in the first.
6. Neil Walker – 0-4
7. Pedro Alvarez – 1-4 with a double and strikeout
8. Francisco Cervelli – 0-3 with a strike out, walk
9. Gerrit Cole – 5.1 IP, 7 Hits, 4 runs, 3 ER, 6 SO, 2 BB,