Tough times for my computer. It went on the DL on Monday with a virus and it is expected to be back in the lineup tonight. What that means is no me in the Live Blog and no same night recaps. So is life.
For as much good in this game there was equal (at least) bad. The Pirates got great pen work (again) after a short start (again) but the long ball beat the Pirates in the end and they dropped the first of the four game set.
The Cardinals jumped out the three run lead and this time it actually felt like the Pirates could come back and make it a game since Alex Presley was back at the top of the lineup. That is exactly what happened.
The Bucs got three runs in the third inning thanks to a Presley bloop single that scored Michael McKenry and then Garrett Jones singled home Presley and Andrew McCutchen a few batters later. The Pirates actually took the lead in the fourth inning on back-to-back doubles by Ronny Cedeno and McKenry.
The Cardinals came right back and took the lead, this time for good, when David Freese knocked out Charlie Morton with a two-RBI single in the fifth. Matt Holliday hit a monstrous home run off Tony Watson with two outs in the ninth inning to put the game away.
Morton just didn't have it tonight. His ball had little movement and he was leaving a lot of balls in the middle of the plate. Those balls, for the most part, got crushed. He only went 4.1 and gave up nine hits and five runs (all earned). Before tonight Morton had only given up three earned runs in his last four starts combined. The night just was not his.
Another bullpen arm came in and did an outstanding job, this time it was Chris Leroux. Leroux pitched 2.2 scoreless innings giving up only one hit and striking out three. It has been a pretty small sample size for him this season so far but I have been pretty impressed. He is throwing the ball hard and hitting some spots and this is a perfect showcase time for him as he will look to make the big league club next year as a long man.
All in all not too much else went on. The Pirates had a prime chance to tie the game in the eighth, which might have made a difference because we would have probably seen Jose Veras instead of Watson, but the Pirates again couldn't bring home a runner from third with less than two outs. Xavier Paul was pinch runner for Jones (who singled to start the inning) and was on third after a stolen base and a ground out. Ronny Cedeno struck out and Ryan Doumit (pinch hit for McKenry) flew out to right. When you can't hit the ball out of the ballpark with any regularity you need to take advantage of runners on third, especially with less than two outs. It cost the Pirates last night.
Back at it tonight against the Cards.