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Pittsburgh at St. Louis

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Pittsburgh (66-54)001020001480
St. Louis (65-55) «10022000x5111

Molina, Cardinals creep closer to Pirates in NL wild-card race

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals needed a lift. Lucky for them, Yadier Molina was ready to return to the lineup.

Molina had three hits and two RBI, leading the Cardinals to a big 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

St. Louis bounced back from Friday night's 2-1 loss in the series opener and pulled within a game of Pittsburgh for the second NL wild-card spot. Jaime Garcia is expected to come off the disabled list to start Sunday's series finale against Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens.

Molina also scored a run after missing the previous three games with a sore back. The All-Star catcher hit a tiebreaking two-run double off Erik Bedard (7-13) in the fifth inning to give the Cardinals a 5-3 lead.

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"Not just his presence but his production," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "It's great to have Yadi back."

The Cardinals had scored just two runs in their previous two games. Batting sixth, Molina went 3 for 4.

"It feels so good," said Molina, who indicated his back was not bothering him after the game. "I was waiting for this moment the last three days. It's good to be back, it's good to get the win."

Pittsburgh loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Jason Motte but only managed one run on Andrew McCutchen's infield out. Garrett Jones struck out swinging and Josh Harrison bounced into a fielder's choice to end the game.

Motte fell behind 3-0 to Jones before coming back to get him. Jones took a healthy cut at the 3-0 pitch, which was fine with Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle.

"He's your cleanup hitter and arguably as hot as anyone we have on the team," Hurdle said.

"We're going to play the game to win it. We're not going to be afraid to make a mistake or play on our heels."

Barret Browning (1-2) pitched a scoreless inning for his first major-league win. Motte earned his 28th save in 33 chances after blowing his previous opportunity Thursday against Arizona.

Motte was not dwelling on the past when he loaded the bases Saturday.

"I don't really think about the other day," Motte said. "I was out there and I was thinking `I got to get this guy at the plate.' That's pretty much exactly what I was thinking."

Shane Robinson also had a two-run double for St. Louis, which finished with 11 hits. Rafael Furcal went 2 for 5 and scored twice, and Allen Craig had two singles.

Jordy Mercer went 2 for 4 with two RBI for the Pirates, who struck out 14 times.

Craig's second hit put runners on the corners with two down in the fifth. Bedard then walked David Freese before Molina came up with his opposite-field double to right to put St. Louis in front.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn allowed three runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

Mercer singled in Clint Barmes in the third and doubled in Starling Marte in the fifth, cutting St. Louis' lead to 3-2. Mercer eventually scored the tying run on Jones' sacrifice fly to right.

Notes

  • Garcia is scheduled for his first start since June 5 after he was sidelined by a left shoulder strain.
  • Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday snapped an 0-for-14 slide with a third-inning single.
  • Edward Mujica pitched a scoreless seventh and has yet to allow a run in eight appearances with the Cardinals.
  • Marte left in the sixth inning with discomfort in his right side and was being evaluated.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Yadier Molina returns with a big game, collecting three hits and two RBI in a key battle against the Pirates.  (AP)
Yadier Molina returns with a big game, collecting three hits and two RBI in a key battle against the Pirates. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

Y. Molina
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Pittsburgh

J. Mercer
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF2110000 .253
    Yamaico Navarro, LF2000001 .167
Jordy Mercer, 2B-SS4122001 .188
Andrew McCutchen, CF5001024 .356
Garrett Jones, 1B-RF4011022 .283
Travis Snider, RF2000110 .289
    Jared Hughes, P0000000 .000
   a- Josh Harrison, PH-2B2010002 .232
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3000132 .236
Rod Barajas, C3000122 .194
Clint Barmes, SS3110023 .219
   b- Michael McKenry, PH1000002 .267
    Juan Cruz, P0000000 .000
Erik Bedard, P2000024 .114
    Gaby Sanchez, 1B2120000 .217
Totals35484314  
a-singled for Hughes in the 8th
b-flied out for Barmes in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jordy Mercer (4, Lynn), Gaby Sanchez (13, Mujica)
SF - Garrett Jones (5)
RBI - Jordy Mercer 2 (4), Andrew McCutchen (73), Garrett Jones (65)
2-OUT RBI - Jordy Mercer (1)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Alvarez-Mercer-G. Jones, Bedard-Barmes
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Erik Bedard (L,7-13) 4.2955340 4.76
Jared Hughes 2.1000010 2.59
Juan Cruz 1200010 2.60
HBP - Jay (by Juan Cruz)
Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 78-48, Jared Hughes 16-10, Juan Cruz 22-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 3-5, Jared Hughes 5-1
Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 24, Jared Hughes 7, Juan Cruz 6
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS5220003 .269
Matt Carpenter, RF-1B4011001 .311
Matt Holliday, LF4010022 .306
Allen Craig, 1B4120001 .305
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
    Daniel Descalso, 2B0000000 .230
David Freese, 3B2100201 .300
Yadier Molina, C4132000 .317
Shane Robinson, CF-RF4022012 .257
Ryan Jackson, 2B2000100 .000
   a- Carlos Beltran, PH1000012 .278
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Lance Lynn, P2000021 .073
    Barret Browning, P0000000 .000
    Trevor Rosenthal, P0000000 .000
   b- Skip Schumaker, PH1000000 .313
    Edward Mujica, P0000000 .000
    Jon Jay, CF0000000 .304
Totals33511536  
a-struck out for Jackson in the 8th
b-flied out for Rosenthal in the 6th
Batting
2B - Rafael Furcal (17, Bedard), Yadier Molina 2 (24, Bedard, Bedard), Shane Robinson (6, Bedard)
RBI - Matt Carpenter (31), Yadier Molina 2 (56), Shane Robinson 2 (14)
2-OUT RBI - Yadier Molina 2 (24)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - David Freese (10, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Lance Lynn 4.1433380 3.73
Barret Browning (W,1-2) 1000020 4.00
Trevor Rosenthal (H,1) 0.2000010 3.86
Edward Mujica (H,19) 1100000 3.66
Mitchell Boggs (H,23) 1200020 2.13
Jason Motte (S,28) 1110010 2.79
HBP - Marte (by Lance Lynn), Mercer (by Jason Motte)
WP - Barret Browning (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Lance Lynn 86-53, Barret Browning 11-7, Trevor Rosenthal 8-5, Edward Mujica 6-5, Mitchell Boggs 16-13, Jason Motte 22-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Lance Lynn 1-4, Edward Mujica 1-2, Jason Motte 3-0
Batters Faced - Lance Lynn 21, Barret Browning 3, Trevor Rosenthal 2, Edward Mujica 4, Mitchell Boggs 5, Jason Motte 6
Game Information
Attendance - 40313
Game Time - 3:17
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Lance Barrett