Final Score: Pirates 5 Cardinals 0
Why The Pirates Won: Vince Velasquez pitched a solid 6 innings allowing no runs, on 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out 6. He was aided by some aggressive swings by the Cardinals and some good to spectacular fielding in the outfield. It really was hard to believe that that was really Velasquez out there to tell you the truth. Apparently, he has had previous success against Arenado and Goldschmidt in the past, holding them both under .200. The bullpen pitched the last 3 innings, giving up only 3 hits and walking 1. They added 4 more strikeouts. The Pirate bats were quiet for the first 5 innings extending their no run streak to 14 innings. In the top of the 6th Carlos Santana and Andrew McCutchen put back to back doubles together and the Pirates had a 1-0 lead. They added a run in the 7th on a McCutchen sacrifice fly. In the top of the 8th the Pirates went back to back again, but this time it was home runs, by Connor Joe and Rodolfo Castro to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead. They added a run in the ninth to win easily and stretch their record to 8-5.
Key Moment Of The Game: It was still a scoreless battle in the bottom of the 4th and Velasquez got the first 2 outs quickly. But then he walked the next two batters, and when the Cardinals pulled a double steal, there were 2 runners in scoring position. Tyler O’ Neil came to bat and on a 2-2 count sent a drive deep into the left center field gap. Ji Hwan Bae made a great running catch crashing into the wall to end the inning. If he doesn’t come up with that ball the Cardinals score 2 runs, and the game could have taken a completely different turn.
Next Game: Tonight, Cardinals in St. Louis. Johan Oviedo will start tonight against his former team. Hopefully, the Cardinals will see what the Quintana rental really cost them. The Pirates have 1 win and need 2 more to make this trip a success. Don’t get me wrong if they could win all 7 road games it would be euphoric, but a 3-4 trip would be just fine. Velasquez seems to have a spell over the Cardinals. We will see what he does on his next start against a non-Cardinal team. If Velasquez has found something it would be a huge boon to this team.