Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22, 2011 - Pujols, Freese & Molina Go Deep in 6-4 Win Over Pirates

Friday, July 22, 2011 - At PNC Park (Chris Carpenter - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Pittsburgh Pirates (Paul Maholm - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  38,490

The Cardinals staked Chris Carpenter to a 4-0 first-inning lead - on a pair of two-run home runs - then Carpenter later helped his own cause with a run-scoring single - as St Louis held on for the win, to move into a virtual tie with Pittsburgh for second-place in the NL Central - one game behind first-place Milwaukee.

Jon Jay started the first-inning rally against Pirates starter Paul Maholm with a one-out triple to right field, bringing Albert Pujols to the plate - in his favorite ballpark to hit.  As if on cue, Pujols launched one to deep right-center field - three rows deep - to put the Redbirds quickly on top, 2-0.

One out later, after Lance Berkman doubled down the left field line, David Freese belted an opposite-field home run deep to right field to give the Cardinals a four run advantage right off the bat.

The Pirates cut that deficit in half in the second-inning.  With two out, Garrett Jones doubled, followed by a run-scoring single from Ronnie Cedeno, a scratch infield single from Michael McHenry, then an RBI single from Maholm - trying to help his own cause.

Carpenter returned the favor in the third-inning - lining a two-out base hit to right-center field, to score Yadier Molina, who had doubled.

Pittsburgh scored two more runs in the sixth-inning - but questionable base-running took them out of a potentially big-inning, when they collected five hits off a tiring Carpenter.

With one out, and runners on second and third, Garrett Jones brought both home with a bloop single near the line in left field - but was nailed by a strong throw from Matt Holliday when he tried to stretch it into a double.  That play loomed large when the next two batters - Cedeno and McHenry - also singled; however, the inning ended when pinch hitter Xavier Paul grounded out to Pujols at first base - unassisted.

Then Yadi gave the Cardinals a bit more breathing room with a two-out solo home run in the eighth-inning - giving the Cardinals a 6-4 lead - and that's where it finished, after Fernando Salas worked a scoreless ninth-inning for his 18th save of the season.

Carpenter, who had gotten off to a slow start, improved to 6-7.  By the time the regular season ended, it's safe to say he had his "A" game going.

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