Jedd Gyorko, begins October with career high 30 home run with a solo shot in the eight to give the Cardinals the lead and win over the Pirates. (Photo: Bill Greenblatt/UPI)
The St. Louis Cardinals won their second game, 4-3, over the Pirates yesterday. The San Francisco Giants blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-0, to hold their one game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card race. The Cardinals are looking to sweep the Pirates today. However, even with a win, their postseason lay in the hands of the Dodgers to win over the Giants for a tie for the second place Wild Card spot.
In the event of a two-way tie, per MLB.com: "If there is a two-team tie for the second Wild Card spot, a tiebreaker game will be hosted by the team with the better head-to-head record during the regular season. If they split the season series, home field will be determined by the team with the better intradivision record."
"Here is who has the tiebreaker edge: NATIONAL LEAGUE ~ *Cardinals: They hold the tiebreaker over the Giants and would host a potential tiebreaker game against the Giants on Monday."
Should the above scenario happen, the Cardinals and the Giants will have one more game to play this season. One more game to determine which team will begin their offseason vacations. For Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals, playing at home, will not have a three to four hour West coast wait to see what their future holds. The game between the Dodgers-Giants begins at 2:05 CST. The Pirates-Cardinals game, first pitch at 2:15 CST.
In yesterday's game against the Pirates. The Cardinals had to rely upon seven pitchers to get the job done. Manager Mike Matheny made the call after observing his two former starters in sessions these past four days. Michael Wacha would make the start over LHP Jaime Garcia. Wacha, still dealing with shoulder stress-factor, had two outs, walked one for two runners on. Jung Ho Kang connected for a three-run homer to give the Pirates the lead in the first. Between the next six relievers, with former closer Trevor Rosenthal on the mound for three frames, they held the Pirates from further damages. LHP reliever Kevin Siegrist would earn his sixth win pitching in the eighth.
Cardinals chipped away at the three run lead. They faced Pirates rookie Chad Kuhl, who held the Cardinals scoreless through his fifth. In the sixth, he gave up a single to top-of-the-order Jhonny Peralta, followed by a double to Brandon Moss. Kuhl was retired, LHP Antonio Bastardo followed. He got the first out, then issued a free pass with a wild pitch an Peralta in for the Cardinals first run. Another pitching change by Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. Juan Nicasio to the mound.
Next up, PH Matt Holliday. Holliday, no option to be given in 2017 and being activated from the DL for this series, slugged out a PH home run in game one. Game Two, he connects to send the leather the opposite way for RBI single to cut the Pirates lead to one run.
Still in the sixth, PR Tommy Pham replaced Holliday on the bag. Matt Carpenter sent a high flier for a sac-fly RBI to tie, 3-3.
Pham would be thrown out at first by Nicasio to 1B John Jaso for the third out and to close a three run inning.
The Cardinals were held scoreless into the eighth inning. Pirates Felipe Rivero pitching. He has two outs on the board, and Jedd Gyorko up for this next at-bat. Gyorko had been 1-3 with a single in the second facing Kuhl. Felipe had a 3-2 count on the board, Gyorko sends the clutch hit the opposite way that carries for a solo shot to take the lead. That was his career high 30 home run in his first season with the Cardinals.
Cardinals Seung Hwan Oh would earn his 19 save but not before allowing the Pirates two hits. Oh had two outs on the board, Pedro Florimon at the plate. On a 3-2 pitch, he sends the two-seamer out high out in left to Moss for the Cardinals 4-3 win.
The Cardinals still in their "Hunt for Postseason".
FINAL SERIES GAME, FINAL GAME OF THE 2016 SEASON.
Cardinals Adam Wainwright (13-9/4.67 ERA) will face Pirates Ryan Vogelsong (3-7/5.00 ERA). Wainwright is 7-4/3.21 ERA at home. Facing the Pirates he is 2-1/4.07 with allowing 1 HR/11 ER with only five walks issued and 22 strikeouts in his 24.1 IP. In September, he is 4-1/5.07 ERA in his five starts with two of those starts at Busch Stadium. Vogelsong, took a line drive to the face in the Pirates game against the Colorado Rockies, May 23. He returned from the 60-Day DL August 4. He is 3-2/4.76 ERA on the road; and, in September, 0-3/8.72 ERA. He has faced the Cardinals only once this season, September 6, at PNC Park. He gave up 2 HR/5 ER in only four innings pitched.
It will be determined today whether the Cardinals are in, or out, for a tie-breaker game tomorrow on Monday at Busch Stadium, against the Giants to advance to postseason. Cardinals Carlos Martinez will make the start should there be a face-off between the two teams.
The Mets clinched the top NL Wild Card spot yesterday with their win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets, win or lose today, will await today's game results; and, a possible tie-breaker, as to which team they will host Wednesday, October 5. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians are playing their final regular season game today to determine home field advantage for the AL Wild Card game, Tuesday, October 4. The AL victor will go on to play the Texas Rangers (ALDS) at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Thursday, October 6. The NL WC victor will travel to Wrigley Field to face the Chicago Cubs (NLDS) on Friday, October 7.