Game Report: Cardinals 8, Pirates 4

By Rob Rains

Standing outside the Cardinals dugout before Sunday night’s game, general manager John Mozeliak was succinct in discussing a team which has struggled virtually all season.

“We’re not on a great path right now,” Mozeliak said. “We have to get things going. We need different outcomes. … It’s been a club struggling to find ways to win.”

The Cardinals found a way on Sunday night, finally taking advantage of another team’s mistakes.

Back-to-back walks to open the seventh inning in a 4-4 game set up a four-run rally which carried the Cardinals to only their fourth win this month against a team other than the last-place Phillies.

Yadier Molina broke the tie by punching a two-strike single into right field before the second run scored on a fielding error. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and both scored on Paul DeJong’s single through a drawn-in infield.

The win broke a five-game losing streak at home for the Cardinals.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate:
The Cardinals jumped in front 2-0 in the second on a two-run single by Greg Garcia, only his second hit in 30 at-bats this month. ,,, With the Pirates leading 4-2 in the sixth, a homer by Randal Grichuk, recalled from Memphis before the game, cut the lead to 4-3 and the Cardinals tied it later in the inning on a pinch-hit ground-rule double by Jedd Gyorko … The walks to Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty set up the four-run seventh … Molina, playing for the first time in the series, extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a three-hit night, two singles and a double … St. Louis native Luke Voit made his major-league debut as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and was hit by a pitch.

On the mound:
Mike Leake scattered six hits over six innings and was not involved in the decision, his sixth consecutive start without a victory. A leadoff walk set up a three-run inning in the third for the Pirates, who added another run in the fourth … The Pirates had just one hit after the fifth inning, with Trevor Rosenthal, Brett Cecil and Seung Hwan Oh combining to retire the seven hitters in order … Rosenthal faced only one batter, striking out Josh Harrison on three pitches with a runner on third for the final out in the seventh, and got the win thanks to the Cardinals four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Key stat: in addition to his home run, Grichuk was 1-for-4 with an infield single, two strikeouts and a groundout. He had not hit a home run in his last 41 at-bats with the Cardinals before he was sent to Memphis on May 29 and had homered only once in his last 97 major-league at-bats.

Worth noting: Grichuk’s homer was measured at 478 feet, the longest hit by a Cardinal at Busch 3 and the second longest by any player. Keon Broxton of the Brewers hit a 489-foot homer earlier this season … Grichuk was recalled after Dexter Fowler was placed on the disabled list because of a right heel injury … The other roster moves Sunday saw Kevin Siegrist also placed on the DL, Chad Huffman sent back to Memphis and Voit and right-hander Mike Mayers coming up from the Triple A club … Pitching prospect Jack Flaherty had his worst start of the year for Memphis on Sunday, giving up five runs on eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings at Omaha. One of the hits was a three-run homer by Jorge Soler.

Looking ahead:
The Cardinals and Reds will play a makeup game at 3:15 p.m. on Monday at Busch Stadium. Michael Wacha will get the start. The Cardinals then head to Arizona for a three-game series before returning home on Friday night.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains