ST. LOUIS (AP) – Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer, Matthew Liberatore pitched five shoutout innings and Yadier Molina passed Iván Rodríguez for the most putouts by a catcher in MLB history during the st. Louis Cardinals’ 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
It was the first game of a day-night doubleheader, and gave the Cardinals their fourth win in five games. The Pirates dropped their season-high eighth straight.
With his 11 putouts, Molina reached the high-water mark of 14,870 putouts over his 18 seasons.
He was also front and center in a wild sequence leading to the Cardinals’ third run in the fourth inning. After reaching on an error, Molina was picked off second to end the inning. But after he and Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol argued, the umpires conferred and called a balk after determining Pirates starter JT Brubaker started the pitch in the windup.
“I saw him out of the windup, step back and regather,” Marmol said. “There’s no other reason for Yadi to take off there other than he was out of the windup. So, everyone saw the same thing. I’m glad they got it right. “
The reversal drew the ire of Pirates manager Derek Shelton, who argued but wasn’t ejected.
“My argument was that you can’t argue a balk call … you can ask about a balk call if it’s a step-off call and then, you know, the fact that all four of them had to get together,” Shelton said. “I was just making sure they got it right. Ultimately, they got it right. “
Nolan Gorman then walked to load the bases and Goldschmidt followed with a grounder up the middle. Gorman beat the force play at second, but ran through the base instead of sliding, which led to a lengthy rundown between second and home, allowing Molina to score before Edmundo Sosa was called out at home.
Marmol said Gorman made the smart play by running through second instead of sliding, something he says is discussed in the minors and the majors, saying it was “good to see because you rarely see it happening that way, but really big play right there for sure. “
Liberatore (2-1) was called up as the Cardinals’ 27th man for the twin bill. He struck out five, walked two and gave up three hits. Giovanny Gallegos earned his ninth save in 12 chances with a scoreless ninth.
“I did a good job of throwing the off-speed in the strike zone when I needed to, and once again, that opens up swing and miss late in the count for those pitches,” Liberatore said. “And I think it helps get guys off of the fastball so I was able to get inside on righties and elevate against lefties and righties.
Goldschmidt’s homer traveled 418 feet over the centerfield wall, breaking a scoreless tie in the third. It was his second home run in as many games and his 50th career at Busch Stadium.
Yu Chang’s 416-foot solo homer off Cardinals reliver Géniss Cabrera in the seventh got the Pirates on the board.
Brubaker (0-7) earned just two of the three runs, allowed seven hits and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings. Three of the Pirates four fielding errors came with Brubaker on the mound.
“It was a little bit of a crazy day,” Brubaker said. Gotta grab the ball and go to the mound and throw the next pitch. “
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Jason Delay made his debut and became the sixth catcher for the Pirates this season. The last time Pittsburgh employed more than five catchers was 2016.
Brendan Donovan, who led off for the Cardinals, has appeared in all nine lineup spots this season, and played all four infield positions as well as right and left field.
THE MACHINE KEEPS RUNNING
Albert Pujols appeared in his 1,340th game at first base, tying Jim Bottomley for the most in Cardinals history. It was also his 1,739th game as a Cardinal, passing Curt Flood for seventh-most in franchise history.
Pirates: RHP Duane Underwood Jr. was placed on COVID-19 injured list on Monday.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder) will start in the series finale against the Pirates on Wednesday night. Flaherty, who was scheduled to make his third rehab start at Triple-A Memphis, is expected to be held to around 60 pitches.
Cardinals RHP Miles Mikolas (4-4, 2.93) takes on Pittsburgh RHP Bryse Wilson (0-3, 7.53) in the night contest. Mikolas allowed two runs on three hits in a 2-1 loss at Tampa on Thursday. Wilson, who is the 27th man for the twin bill, went 0-0 with 3.32 ERA in three starts with Triple-A Indianapolis after being sent down on May 23.
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