Friday, August 26, 2011 - At Busch Stadium III (Jake Westbrook - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent: Pittsburgh Pirates (James McDonald - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance: 40,480
After being swept at home in a three-game series with the Dodgers, manager Tony LaRussa held a brief team meeting with his players prior to the four-game series with the Pirates. In essence, the message imparted by TLR was simply: Don't quit.
After winning the first game on Thursday, the Cardinals had to perform some come-from-behind magic to take the second game from Pittsburgh - and they did, thanks to home runs by Yadier Molina and Lance Berkman.
Berkman's thirtieth home run of the season - a two-run eighth-inning blast - lifted the Cardinals to a 5-4 win - but it was Molina's three-run homer earlier in the game which made the game winner possible.
Things didn't start out well for St Louis starter - Jake Westbrook. One walk, three hits and a sacrifice fly quickly put the Cardinals in a 3-0 hole after the first-inning.
The Redbirds evened the score in the third-inning. Matt Holliday led off with a base on balls. One out later, David Freese singled. With two on and one out, Yadier Molina blasted a James McDonald letter-high fastball into the left field seats to suddenly make it a 3-3 game - while giving a lucky fan a souvenir.
The Pirates quickly regained the lead in the fourth-inning. Jose Tabatha's two-out double scored Ronnie Cedeno from second - but that would be the last run Pittsburgh would score.
Westbrook's night was over after six innings. He had yielded seven hits and walked five - but limited the damage to four runs. The final three innings of flawless relief - Arthur Rhodes' perfect seventh - followed by Kyle McClellan's (10-6) two perfect innings - allowed Berkman's home run into the Cardinals' bullpen off Pirates reliever Jose Veras (2-4) to have significance. Looking back on the 2011 season, the home run meant the difference between a trip to the postseason and going home after Game 162.
After winning Game 132 - the Cardinals (69-63) were 9.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers (79-54) - who also won tonight. Strangely enough, they were also 9.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves - who lost tonight.
The Cardinals would take three of four from the Pirates before sweeping a three-game series in Milwaukee. Clearly, they weren't quitting.