Mike Leake returned from the DL to face the Pirates retired after 4.1 innings.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Cardinals starter Mike Leake returned from the 15-Day DL having dealt with shingles. He had been cleared to make his start last night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cardinals scored in the first on Pirates rookie Jameson Taillon to give Leake at least a 1-0 lead before he took the hill. The Pirates, who were stunned in the ninth inning in Game Two for a loss, handed Leake his first two earned runs allowed by Gregory Polanco and Jung Ho Kang to take a 2-1 lead. Josh Harrison would regain the Pirates' lead, 3-2, in Leake's fourth with a RBI sac-fly. He was retired after 4.1 innings, giving up three earned runs, only issued one walk and had three strikeouts. He left the mound with one out, one runner on and Kang back to the plate. Rookie reliever Alex Reyes followed.
Rookie Alex Reyes fanned six in relief facing the Pirates.
Reyes facing Kang retired him on a ground out and went on to get his third out to close the fifth inning. He and Kang would face one another one more time, with Kang being the victor.
Taillon completed 5 IP/2 ER/1-BB/5 SO. Trevor Williams followed giving up a RBI single to Randal Grichuk, who had been HBP earlier in the game, to tie the score in the sixth, as he would hold the Cardinals scoreless in his next two innings.
Reyes stayed on the mound for the remainder of the game. In his eighth, top-of-the-order Jung Ho Kang. Kang had been activated from the Pirates DL for the series with the Cardinals. He was held hitless in Game One. But, in Game Two, he added two more solo shots for his season 16. In the final game, facing Reyes for his last at-bat, he slugs the two-seamer out over the center wall for a solo to give the Pirates their 4-3 lead. Reyes settled back in and took down the next three batters he faced. For his 3.2 IP he gave up one earned run and fanned six.
Pirates Tony Watson returned to close, as he had done the night before. However, as the Cardinals stunned him with three home runs to take the win in Game Two, he did not allow the Cardinals the same result in the final game. He took down the side to hand the Pirates their win to end an eight game losing streak and to stay a sweep by St. Louis. He got his 11 save, Williams earned his first win and Reyes was handed his first major league loss.
CARDINALS ONE STARTER, ONE RELIEVER
As the game progressed, seeing that Reyes would be a probable to finish out the game, curiosity took over. Anyone who like to follow me on Twitter, you can find me @elichap822. On the social media site, one can obtain great information. First, I inquired had any reliever who followed the starter pitched the remainder of the game. With the Red Sox, Ernie Shore relieved Babe Ruth, after one batter walked, Ruth's ejection; and Shore finished the game in a tremendous appearance. Going a bit further, I wanted to know had this been accomplished by one of our St. Louis Cardinals relievers? I received my answer .... at least one of those is our own former Cardinals - now Fox Sports Midwest commentator and radio broadcaster - Rick Horton.
August 18, 1985, Rick Horton (2.29 ERA) relieved starter Kurt Kepshire (4.50 ERA), going eight innings, gave up 2 ER/2-BB and had six strikeouts for the 13-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Veteran's Stadium. Just a bit of history; and, yes, early relief has finished out games. Leake wasn't retired after his first inning; however, Reyes did finish out the game to hold a 1.56 ERA. And, he had his first major league hit off Williams in the seventh. Reyes, debut August 9 in relief, has two games as starter in Leake's absence; now, back in the bullpen. The 22 year old has proven his worthiness to be in the major leagues. With a total of 23.2 IP he has only given up 1 HR/4 ER while producing 30 strikeouts.
CARDINALS RETURN TO BUSCH STADIUM FOR A FOUR GAME SERIES
The Cardinals will host the Milwaukee Brewers in their first home stand series. Cardinals Jaime Garcia (10-11/4.40 ERA) will face Brewers Junior Guerra (7-3/2.85 ERA). The last J Garcia faced the Brewers, July 1, he went 8 IP/1 HR/1 ER with six strikeouts in the Cardinals 7-1 win. Guerra last pitched a Busch Stadium, July 10, 5.2 IP/2 HR/3 ER/5 SO in the Cardinals 5-1 win. There is rain in the forecast for the St. Louis area. And, unlike Miller Park, Busch Stadium has no roof to ward against the elements. First pitch is at 6:15 CST.