Friday night, the Cardinals did something they hadn’t in exactly two weeks: win back-to-back games. The 5-4 victory over the Pirates was on the heels of 8-4 triumph Thursday night.
It was a little ironic that on Willie McGee Night, all the scoring came via a decidedly un-Willie-like manner: home runs by Yadier Molina and Lance Berkman. (And even though they were wearing 1980s-style uniforms, they weren’t exactly the ’80s tight fit.) No small ball this time, although Albert did have a stolen base.
Instead, the Cards slugged their way to the win. Yadi’s three-run homer in the second tied the game after the Pirates scored three in the top of the first off Jake Westbrook. The Pirates regained the lead 4-3 in the fourth and it stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth. After a Matt Holliday walk, LB gave the Cardinals their first lead of the night. He wasn’t necessarily trying for the long ball, though:
“You’re not stepping in the batters’ box saying ‘I need to hit a home run right here,”’ Berkman said. “I don’t know that anybody ever does that and if they do, I may have done it a few times, it never works. Generally, you’re just saying ‘Hey, let’s get a good pitch to hit.”’
It was homer No. 30 for LB, marking the sixth time in his career he’s reached that total. He’s now one behind Albert’s NL-leading 31 homers and tied with Matt Kemp, Mike Stanton and Dan Uggla for second.
Kyle McClellan earned his 10th win of the year with two hitless innings to close out the game. Jake Westbrook started and had another ineffective outing, giving up the four runs on seven hits and five walks in six innings. Arthur Rhodes came in after Westbrook gave up a hit to start the seventh, then retired all three batters he faced.
So, perhaps a little momentum for the Cardinals. And, as the famous Earl Weaver quote reminds us, momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher — who happens to be Chris Carpenter.
Game time today is 3:10 p.m. on Fox.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.