September 29, 2015

Cards Magic Number: 2

PITTSBURGH--PNC PARK--The St. Louis Cardinals lowered their Magic Number to two Monday night in a game that remained scoreless until the ninth inning.

The Cardinals ended up shutting out the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game critical to both teams in the NL Central Division race, 3-0.

Both starters did their job in keeping their respective opponents off the scoreboard. Each earned no decision.

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, hot and cold of late, did walk four Pirates, but struck out six in his five innings of work. Lynn allowed four hits.

Pittsburgh starter, J.A. Happ, pitched an inning more than Lynn, permitting just one Cardinals hit while striking out four.

After pitching a scoreless eighth, Cards' reliever, Jhonatan Broxton (4-5), notched the win. Trevor Rosenthal would finally grab that franchise record-setting 48th save in his closure of the ninth.

What gave Broxton the victory on the hill was the Cards' ninth, where Jon Jay was tagged with the game-winning hit for his single to right field, Matt Carpenter scoring on a fielding error by Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco, making it 1-0.

Mark Reynolds then took an 0-2 pitch over the center field wall, scoring Jon Jay and extending the Cardinals' lead to 3-0, the final score.

Pittsburgh reliever, Mark Melancon (3-2) gets the loss.

A couple innings earlier, a scary moment when the Cards' left fielder Stephen Piscotty and center fielder Peter Borjous collided on a fly ball hit into the gap. Borjous knee impacted Piscotty's head. The game was delayed nearly 15 minutes while medical personnel attended Piscotty in the outfield. Piscotty was immobilized and taken to a nearby hospital, where later, all tests revealed negative injury, save a head contusion. Piscotty is being kept overnight for observation.

The Cardinals claim win number 99 and reduce their Magic Number to 2, any combination of Cardinals' wins and Pittsburgh loses needed to clinch the NL Central. Hence, a Cardinals' victory Tuesday night at PNC Park gives them the division title.

The Pirates must win the next two versus the Cardinals in order to stay alive in the hunt for the NL Central crown, but must reserve a bit of worry for the Chicago Cubs, who, with a walk-off win over the Kansas City Royals, are now three and half games down in the hunt for the top Wild Card.