Monday, August 20, 2012

19 Inning Marathon Notes

Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, battling for second place in the NL Central with just one game separating them in the standings, squared off in what evolved into a thrilling 19 inning marathon.  Pittsburgh came out on top, 6-3, when they finally broke through against Barrett Browning in the top of the 19th, plating three runs a Pedro Alvarez solo shot and a two-run single by Andrew McCutchen

Here are some notes and factoids from the game:
  • David Freese and Michael McKenry both endured 0-for-8 performances.  Going 0-for-4 is bad enough; imagine doing it twice in the same game!  Tough day at the office for McKenry, who whiffed twice, bounced into a double play and caught all 19 innings.  I'm willing to bet his legs feel a little sore today. 
  • Matt Holliday didn't fare much better, as he took an 0-for-7.
  • Both teams finished the game with one error apiece. Each blunder was committed by the starting pitchers Jeff Karstens and Jaime Garcia.
  • Speaking of Garcia, he deserves a pat on the back.  Making his first start since straining his shoulder on June 5th, he delivered an outstanding performance.  He went eight innings, allowed just five hits and two runs (both unearned) and punched out ten Pirates with nary a walk.  Not a trace of rust following the 64 game layoff.
  • The man Garcia replaced in the Cardinals starting rotation, Joe Kelly, made his first relief appearance of the season but it might as well count as another start; the rookie through 87 pitches in five and two-thirds innings before Mike Matheny replaced him with Mark Rzepczynski in the top of the 17th after Kelly plunked Barmes to load the bases with two outs. 
  • Kudos to the Bucs bullpen for firing a dozen innings of one-run ball.
  • Both teams stranded 13 runners on the basepaths.
  • Managers Clint Hurdle and Mike Matheny both used eight pitchers, with Matheny utilizing his entire seven-man relief corps.
  • Both teams hit one sacrifice fly (Harrison for Pittsburgh, Tony Cruz for St. Louis).
  • Both pitching staffs uncorked one wild pitch (Kelly and Joel Hanrahan).
  • Alvarez's timely home run, his 23rd tater of the season, was the only long ball of the entire three game series.  Fittingly, Alvarez also was the recipient of the game's lone intentional walk.
  • NL MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen led all hitters with three RBI and four strikeouts
  • NL MVP candidate Carlos Beltran swiped three bases, accounting for all three thefts in the game.  Jose Tabata tried twice but failed both times.  Beltran also produced his team's lone extra base hit with his two-run double in the fourth inning.
  • Seven Pirates--Tabata, McCutchen, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Travis Snider, Clint Barmes, and Garrett Jones--enjoyed multi-hit performances with two hits apiece and accounted for all but two of their team's base knocks.  By comparison, a quartet of Redbirds recorded at least two hits; Beltran, Jon Jay (the only player with three hits), Allen Craig, and Yadier Molina.  They accounted for all but two of their team's base knocks as well.
  • There were 34 total strikeouts in the game; Pittsburgh fanned 19 times and St. Louis whiffed 15.
  • Remarkably, the Pirates defense did not turn a single double play.  St. Louis fielded three twin-killings.
  • Wandy Roriguez earned the win, his first W since joining the Bucs a week before the trading deadline. Way-Rod had been scheduled to start tonight against Edinson Volquez, but instead came out of the 'pen and contributed two scoreless frames in his first relief appearance since October 1st, 2006.
  • The Pirates hadn't won a road game that lasted this long since defeating San Diego in 19 innings on August 25th, 1979.  The good news for Pirates fans is the '79 squad, which featured Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, and Bert Blyleven, went on to win the World Series that fall.  Many players participating in yesterday's game hadn't been born yet, and Pittsbrugh hasn't won a championship since.
  • In related news, Pittsburgh won their second season series in St. Louis, something the former hasn't done since 1992 (which also happens to be the last time the franchise finished above .500).
  • The game lasted six hours and seven minutes, the longest of the season.

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