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St. Louis at Pittsburgh

St. Louis
W: R. Franklin (2-0) L: E. Meek (1-1)
HR: STL - None   PIT - None

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3

CBSSports.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Sometimes it's not the team that gets the most hits or throws the best pitches that wins. As the Cardinals proved against the Pirates, it also can be the team that knows the rules.

Yadier Molina doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth with his fourth hit, and his alert defensive play possibly prevented a big Pirates eighth inning. St. Louis took advantage of Molina's heady play and several Pittsburgh defensive lapses to beat the Pirates 4-3 on Friday night.

Joe Mather, pinch running in the ninth after Matt Holliday singled off Evan Meek (1-1) for his fourth hit, arrived well behind the throw as he tried to steal second on a pitchout, but somehow got his hand in ahead of Aki Iwamura's tag. Molina followed with his double to the right-field wall.

"He is one smart player," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Molina.

Especially when the rulebook is involved.

Ryan Franklin (2-0) got the final four outs for the victory despite throwing a tying wild pitch during the wild eighth, when five of the Pirates' six batters reached base but only one scored.

After Andy LaRoche and Andrew McCutchen singled off Jason Motte, LaRoche was caught in a rundown between third and the plate on Garrett Jones' grounder. LaRoche and McCutchen both ended up on third, and catcher Molina alertly tagged both out as LaRoche -- who was entitled to the bag -- momentarily took his foot off the base.

"I thought he had tagged me before I got back to the bag. So I stepped on the bag and just walked off," LaRoche said. "I looked like an idiot out there. I've got to learn from it."

LaRoche thought umpire Ed Hickox was pointing to him when he signaled the first out, according to McCutchen.

"We gave that game away, flat out," McCutchen said.

Still, Molina was alert enough to realize LaRoche was the live runner and was eligible to be tagged.

"He's amazing," Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter said. "He is so smart, the things he does that people don't understand it's unbelievable. It's another point tonight to show how smart he is."

As the Pirates proved, it's also possible to overthink a situation.

St. Louis scored twice in the first against Zach Duke with the help of a defense that couldn't make plays regardless of where it was positioned.

The Pirates employed radical infield shifts against Ryan Ludwick and Molina, and both singled by driving the ball into right field through the hole where second baseman Iwamura normally plays. When the Cardinals did hit the ball to a fielder, shortstop Ronny Cedeno threw wildly on Holliday's grounder -- setting up Molina's two-run single.

"Teams look at numbers, and maybe they thought we hit a lot of balls up the middle," Holliday said. "I don't know why they do that."

Third baseman LaRoche also misplayed Molina's grounder in the sixth for an error, and Skip Schumaker hit a two-out single to make it 3-1.

"We probably shouldn't try to think too much about this and overanalyze it," Jones said.

That might have been a good suggestion before the game. The Pirates mostly dropped the shift in the later innings except against Albert Pujols, who went 0 for 5 to end an 11-game hitting streak.

Carpenter was denied his 11th consecutive victory in 12 starts against Pittsburgh since June 2004 -- and a 5-0 start this season -- when the Pirates tied it. He struck out eight and walked none over seven innings, allowing Lastings Milledge's RBI single in the fourth and Ryan Doumit's run-scoring double in the sixth.

The Cardinals were coming off three consecutive losses in Philadelphia while the Pirates were sweeping three from the Cubs.

St. Louis didn't score in the seventh despite getting three consecutive singles. Holliday slid past home plate and was tagged out on Molina's one-out hit.


The Cardinals left 13 on base. ... Pujols has a .382 career average in Pittsburgh. ... Pittsburgh's Jeff Clement was hitless in 19 at-bats before getting a one-out single in the ninth. ... McCutchen is batting .462 (12 for 26) in the first inning.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game
St. Louis

Y. Molina
AB 5
R 1
H 4
HR 0

A. McCutchen
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0

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St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B5011023 .225
Ryan Ludwick, RF5110023 .252
Albert Pujols, 1B5000011 .313
Matt Holliday, LF5140000 .298
    Joe Mather, PR-LF0100000 .185
David Freese, 3B4010123 .344
Yadier Molina, C5143002 .313
Colby Rasmus, CF4010115 .299
Chris Carpenter, P2000022 .077
   a- Jon Jay, PH1010000 .385
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P1000012 .000
Brendan Ryan, SS2000102 .186
a-singled for Carpenter in the 8th
2B - Matt Holliday (8, Duke), Yadier Molina (6, Meek)
SH - Chris Carpenter (3), Brendan Ryan (3)
RBI - Skip Schumaker (5), Yadier Molina 3 (19)
2-OUT RBI - Skip Schumaker (2), Yadier Molina 3 (8)
SB - Joe Mather (1, 2nd base off Meek/Doumit), Yadier Molina (4, 3rd base off Meek/Doumit), Colby Rasmus (4, 2nd base off Meek/Doumit)
Team LOB - 13
DP - Miller-Freese-Molina
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter 7822080 2.80
Jason Motte0211000 3.09
Trever Miller (H,3) 0.2000000 3.00
Ryan Franklin (BS,1; W,2-0) 1.1100010 2.70
HBP - Doumit (by Trever Miller), Church (by Trever Miller)
WP - Ryan Franklin (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 106-78, Jason Motte 6-3, Trever Miller 12-4, Ryan Franklin 22-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 9-3, Trever Miller 1-0, Ryan Franklin 2-1
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 28, Jason Motte 2, Trever Miller 3, Ryan Franklin 5
Pittsburgh Pirates
Akinori Iwamura, 2B5010010 .194
Andy LaRoche, 3B5020002 .325
Andrew McCutchen, CF4130001 .325
Garrett Jones, 1B4210012 .248
Ryan Doumit, C3011001 .283
Ryan Church, RF3000032 .254
Lastings Milledge, LF4021013 .250
Ronny Cedeno, SS4000022 .226
Zach Duke, P2000010 .111
    D.J. Carrasco, P0000000 .000
    Jack Taschner, P0000000 .000
   a- Delwyn Young, PH1000000 .233
    Evan Meek, P0000000 .000
   b- Jeff Clement, PH1010000 .176
    Bobby Crosby, PR0000000 .289
a-grounded out for Taschner in the 7th
b-singled for Meek in the 9th
2B - Andrew McCutchen (7, Carpenter), Garrett Jones (7, Carpenter), Ryan Doumit (5, Carpenter)
RBI - Ryan Doumit (15), Lastings Milledge (11)
2-OUT RBI - Lastings Milledge (3)
CS - Andy LaRoche (1, 2nd base by Carpenter/Molina)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Ryan Church 1
E - Ronny Cedeno (2, Misplayed grounder), Andy LaRoche (3, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke 6.1930270 5.13
D.J. Carrasco 0.1100000 4.29
Jack Taschner 0.1000010 4.40
Evan Meek (L,1-1) 2311130 0.95
IBB - Rasmus by Evan Meek
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 115-83, D.J. Carrasco 1-1, Jack Taschner 4-3, Evan Meek 32-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 7-7, Evan Meek 2-1
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 32, D.J. Carrasco 1, Jack Taschner 1, Evan Meek 10
Game Information
Attendance - 16473
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Ed Hickox