It had been 62 days, since May 14, that Jack Flaherty last won for the Cardinals. In that time, Flaherty was 0-3 and his team 2-7 in those nine games although the Cardinals were shut down twice in that stretch, including a 1-0 loss to San Francisco when Flaherty had a no-hitter for 6 1 / 3 innings
In game 162 managed by Mike Shildt for the Cardinals, the equivalent of a full season, Flaherty's winless streak did not end Tuesday night despite another masterful effort in which he pitched the Pittsburgh Pirates three hits and one run for seven innings. And the Cardinals did not dominate either, falling 3-1
The Pirates shoved across two runs in the ninth inning off Carlos Martinez. First there was a hit batsman (Starling Marte), then a single by Josh Bell, sending Marte to third. Colin Moran got an infield hit when second bassist Kolten Wong made a diving stop to his left but, in trying to start what would have been a difficult double play at the second, could not control the ball, which scooted away
Marte scored on that play and then the Pirates loaded the bases on a walk to Corey Dickerson. A second run scored when Wong, taking a late feed from the shortstop Paul DeJong, bounced and kicked to the first bass player Paul Goldschmidt, who could not hang on to the ball as the Cardinals tried to get a double play on Kevin Newman's grounder to short. 19659003] Wong, discussing the first potential double play, said, "When I caught the ball, I tried to turn around and make a good throw and could not get a grasp of the ball."
Shildt, who took over just midway point of last season, reached the 162-game mark at 88-74, the same record as those achieved in their first years as Cardinals manager by Tony La Russa in 1996 and Mike Matheny in 2012. Both these seasons wound up with the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series
The Cardinals had their chance.
In the fifth, Flaherty doubled over third to score Harrison Bader, who had doubled and stolen third
Flaherty was also ruled to have been stolen third with one out, but the Pirates challenged and crew chief Gary Cederstrom's initial call was overturned. Shildt did not argue the merits of the call being right or wrong, but he argued that the Pirates had 42 seconds, by his count, to issue the challenge rather than the standard 30. Cederstrom said afterwards that the scoreboard clock ticks off those 30 seconds is not used when a challenge is issued with a batter (Tommy Edman) still at the plate.
"I did not feel any urgency to it," said Shildt
"We've got three guys who got watches out and my was the quickest , "Said Cederstrom. "I told Mike," You might be right, "but we can all go through it (the stopwatch), because there was nothing up there (on the scoreboard). Plays during a batter (at the plate), the 30-second clock does not come on. Steals, pickoffs, anything during an at-bat
"If he strikes out or walks, now they turn it on. If he hits the ball then that clock is used. We tried to be as close to what the normal 30-second clock would be but (watch) is all I can go by. "
Shildt said," Later on, we got to 30 seconds but we did not have clarity (from their replay room), so we punted. Time was up
"(On the Flaherty Steal), Gary said he had his stopwatch out and he said," It's based on when I started. "
"I still need some clarity about how 30 seconds becomes 42 seconds and it becomes that ambiguous. That was a big game in that game. Those guys do a great job. They gave me the explanation but I still did not understand it. "
Flaherty blamed himself, both for grounding out with the bases loaded in the second and then coming off the bag on the steal. "I was safe but I popped off," he said. "It's not like I was thrown out by a mile or anything. I popped the base.
"It's happening to everyone. My foot just hit and I slid off to the side. Stay on the base.
Umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled that Marte had been hit by a pitch and waved in the direction of the first base.
There was another unusual decision in the fourth. But Marte declined to go
"He told me it did not hit him," said Dreckman. The call was changed, right, that the ball had hit Marte's bat for a foul.
Flaherty pitched out of trouble in the seventh when Marte singled to the left and went to second on Bell's deep fly to center. With Lefthander Andrew Miller warming up, along with right-wing Giovanny Gallegos, Flaherty stayed in and eventually got out of the inning, striking out Newman with two on and two out. Flaherty finished his night with three hits allowed and eight strikeouts
With the score tied at 1-1 in the home seventh, Dexter Fowler, who thought the ball was a home run, doubled off the top of the left-center wall . When Dickerson and center fielder Marte could not decide who should pick up the carom, Marte fumbled the ball and Fowler made third easily. Wong walked before the Pirates changed Pitchers to Richard Rodriguez.
Matt Wieters bounced to Bell, who looked Fowler back to third and fired to second for the forceout as Wieters was safe at first. Bader, after the bunting foul, fouled the Bell and pinch hitter Jose Martinez rolled out, and Fowler remained tethered to the third
"That's clearly frustrating," said Shildt. "You've got first and third and nobody out and you can not get a ball out of the infield. Obviously, guys are giving the effort but we have to execute there.
"In the last three innings, we did not execute as well as they did.
Flachty summed up the night, in this fashion:
"Sometimes you have to scratch and claw for runs and some days Tyler O'Neill's will hit two home runs in a game and take care of it. That's the game, "Flaherty said.