For the inaugural Doubleday Double Talk MLB Game of the Day, where every day a Doubleday Double Talk writer will recap the most thrilling, interesting, or exciting game played across the bigs, it has been decided that today’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates will take home the prize.
The Pirates, who were fresh off a two-game split with the Cincinnati Reds which was accompanied by a rainout, played in their home opener on Monday and gave the ball to Chris Archer. The Cardinals after dropping three games out of a four-game set with Milwaukee looked to regain momentum and climb up the standings in the stacked National League Central.
The game between the two division rivals did not disappoint with an early lead being squandered by untimely bullpen woes and shaky defense and the game ultimately ending in the 11th inning.
With Chris Archer on the mound, the Pirates looked like they could not be beaten with Archer kicking his 2019 season off on a high note. Archer was lights out for the five innings that he pitched and compiled eight strikeouts while walking just three and giving up a minuscule two hits against the loaded Cardinals lineup.
While Archer was dealing, Adam Wainright struggled, giving up two straight walks to Adam Frazier and Starling Marte before an RBI groundout from Josh Bell and a two-run double from Colin Moran quickly made the score 3-0 in Pittsburgh’s favor. The Pirates threatened the Cards once again in the third after a Corey Dickerson double left runners on second and third with no outs in the third, Josh Bell would hit a sac fly to score Starling Marte and the Pirates were up 4-0 with Archer on fire.
Archer’s stellar night came to an end in the top of the fifth inning when he gave up a leadoff single before striking out the next three batters, and the third coming against the white-hot Paul Goldschmidt. Archer looked as if he would run away with his first win of the season, and it was all downhill from there for Pittsburgh.
After a clean inning from Kyle Crick, the Pirates sent Richard Rodriguez to the mound in the seventh and after giving up a single to Dexter Fowler, a two-run blast by Kolten Wong would make it a 4-2 game. The trouble continued for the Pirates when Rodriguez gave up a single to Harrison Bader before Tyler O’Neill reached on an error by Moran. Francisco Liriano came in with runners on second and third and faced stud Matt Carpenter, who walk to make the bases loaded with no outs. Clint Hurdle turned to Keone Kela to get Pittsburgh out of the jam, and after walking Paul Goldschmidt to bring the score to 4-3, Kela retired Paul DeJong, Marcell Ozuna, and Yadier Molina without any further damage to the score.
In the top of the eighth, the Pirates turned to Nick Burdi who gave up an infield hit to Yairo Munoz. Burdi would then strike out the next two batters, but after a wild pitch that allowed Munoz to advance to second base, O’Neill tied the game with a double down the line. The score was now 4-4 and Pittsburgh had blown a four-run lead.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Colin Moran brought the ball back in Pittsburgh’s court with a leadoff solo shot to make the game 5-4 in the Pirates’ favor. After getting the final out of the inning prior, Felipe Vazquez looked to close it out for the Pirates, but, the Cardinals once again tied the game up after an error by Erik Gonzalez, a wild pitch by Vazquez, and an RBI double by All-Star Jose Martinez. The game was knotted at 5-5 and now it was time for extra innings.
Fireballer Jordyn Hicks came in in the ninth and dominated the three Pirates he faced to keep the score tied for the Cardinals. Neither team scored in the tenth inning and in the 11th, Steven Brault was sent in for his second inning of work of the Pirates. Brault promptly gave up a single, a hit by pitch, and a walk to load the bases. Nick Kingham was called upon to escape the jam but against the first batter he faced, Kingham gave up a passed ball that allowed DeJong to score from third base.
The Cardinals now finally had their first lead of the game and there would be no late inning comeback for Pittsburgh this time with JB Shuck grounding out followed by a walk and a game-ending double play off a ground ball from Starling Marte.
The Pirates can only blame themselves and their bullpen who’s untimely collapse wasted a stellar outing from Chris Archer and will drop them to 1-2 in the standings while the Cardinals will improve to 2-3.