Game Report: Cardinals 4, Pirates 3 (14 innings)

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals won a game for the first time this season that they had been losing by three or more runs when Adron Chambers came through with a one-out single to left to score Jon Jay from second in the 14th inning against the Pirates Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals, who trailed 3-0 after the second inning, cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth and tied it in the ninth on Allen Craig’s single after Starling Marte dropped a fly ball to keep the inning alive … Craig’s hit was the first game-tying RBI for the Cardinals in the ninth inning this season … The Cardinals had three chances to win the game in extra innings before finally doing so in the 14th. In the 10th, they loaded the bases with one out but Pete Kozma struck out and Daniel Descalso flied out. In the 11th, they had the potential winning run on third when the Pirates intentionally walked Craig to bring up pitcher Seth Maness, who was in the fourth spot in the batting order because of a double switch, because the Cardinals had already used all of their position players. Maness, 0-for-2 this season, hit into a double play – with the Pirates bringing in their right-fielder to give them five infielders. In the 13th, Matt Carpenter legged out a two-out double, and the Pirates then intentionally walked both Carlos Beltran and Craig to bring Maness up again and this time he took a called third strike. Finally in the 14th, Jay singled with one out – his fourth hit of the game - stole second and beat the throw home from Marte on Chambers’ hit. “It’s a big, big win,” said manager Mike Matheny. “It was one of those games you just felt like you had to win somehow. There were so many different things I’ve got to go back and re-think it all and how it all played out. There were a lot of guys who did a lot of things right tonight.”

On the mound:
Starter Adam Wainwright gave up a two-run homer to Andrew McCutchen in the first inning and a solo homer to Jordy Mercer in the second to give the Pirates the early lead. Wainwright threw 50 pitches threw the first two innings, but was able to get through seven innings, throwing a season-high 122 pitches, to keep the Cardinals in the game. He walked a season-high three batters but only allowed one hit after the second inning … The bullpen took over after the seventh and logged seven scoreless innings in a game for the first time since May 24, 2005 … Sam Freeman, the sixth Cardinal pitcher, got his first major-league win pitching the top of the 14th.

Key stat: In addition to being the first win of the season in a game they trailed by three or more runs, it also was only the second time since the All-Star break the Cardinals won a game when they were losing at any point in the game. The only other time they won came on July 21 when they trailed San Diego 1-0 at the end of the first inning … Coming into the game the Cardinals were 1-37 in games in which they trailed after seven innings and were 0-40 in games they were losing after the eighth inning. They also had won only once in extra innings this season.

Of note: Holliday had to leave the game for a pinch-runner in the 10th inning after spraining his ankle. X-rays were negative and Matheny said he would be re-examined on Wednesday … The win moved the Cardinals within two games of the division-leading Pirates in the NL Central and extended Pittsburgh’s losing streak to four games … The game equaled the longest home game of the season. The Cardinals lost in 14 innings to Arizona on June 4.

Looking ahead: Shelby Miller (11-7, 2.89 ERA) will start for the first since being hit on the right elbow by a line drive on his second pitch of the game last Wednesday. He will be opposed by Francisco Liriano (12-5, 2.83 ERA).