Game Report: Cardinals 4, Pirates 3

Of all the Cardinals who played a role in their dramatic ninth-inning comeback win over the Pirates on Friday night, nobody was happier than Paul DeJong.

And he didn’t even bat in the inning.

It was a throwing error by DeJong on what could have been a double play in the seventh inning which let the Pirates take a 3-2 lead and left the Cardinals just six outs away from a defeat.

But in the ninth, Stephen Piscotty hit a leadoff double and pinch-runner Harrison Bader went to third on a fly to right by Carson Kelly and scored the tying run on a pinch-hit single by Jedd Gyorko.

Tommy Pham followed with another single, sending pinch-runner Randal Grichuk to third. Dexter Fowler hit a grounder to short – which also could have been a double play – but the ball was kicked by Jordy Mercer, allowing Pham to score the go-ahead run.

The win was the fourth in a row by the Cardinals and improved their record to a season-high nine games over .500, keeping the pressure on the Rockies in the race for the second wild-card spot and also on the Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals scored a run in each of the first two innings to take an early 2-0 lead. Fowler had a RBI single in the first after a leadoff double by Matt Carpenter, and in the second DeJong scored on a throwing error by pitcher Ivan Nova … Fowler and Piscotty were the only players with two hits for the Cardinals … The Cardinals hit into four double plays … The Cardinals used 22 players in the game, including four pinch-runners.

On the mound: Michael Wacha allowed two runs in five innings and four relievers gave up just two hits and the unearned run over the final four innings … Both of the hits came against Ryan Sherriff, who also was charged with the run which scored on DeJong’s error when Matt Bowman was pitching … Juan Nicasio got some revenge on his former team by retiring all six hitters he faced over the final two innings.

Key stat: The Cardinals went into the ninth inning with just two wins in 59 games this season when trailing after eight innings.

Worth noting
: Jose Martinez had to leave the game early because of a sore left thumb, an injury that has been bothering him for the past several days … The Cardinals have won 14 of their 20 games so far in September. The only complete month in which they won more games was August, when they finished the month 15-13.

Looking ahead: Lance Lynn will get the start in the second game of the series on Saturday night while Gerrit Cole will start for the Pirates.