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The Official St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates thread 14/06/06


Registered Member
Okay here's my preview of today's game 2.

Pitching matchup
STL: RHP Sidney Ponson (4-1, 3.54 ERA)
Ponson took his first loss of the season on Wednesday against Cincinnati. He threw 5 1/3 innings, allowed five runs on eight hits, walked five and struck out four. Opponents are hitting just .221 against Ponson with men on and .184 when runners are in scoring position.

PIT: LHP Zach Duke (4-6, 4.25 ERA)
Duke was in line for his third straight win during his last outing when he limited the Giants to three runs in six innings. But the Pirates bullpen was unable to hold an eight-inning lead for just the second time in 21 opportunities this season, and Duke came away with a no-decision. Eight of Duke's 12 starts have been decided by one run. He pitched at least six innings in 11 of those outings.

Player to watch
Left-handed hitters have lit up Ponson this year, and the Pirates have a dangerous lefty in Sean Casey. The veteran first baseman has two hits in three career at-bats against Ponson. For the year, left-handed batters are batting .292 and slugging .528 versus Sir Sidney.


Registered Member
Okay here's my review of game 2.

Jose Castillo homered and drove in four runs and Zach Duke was more effective at the plate than on the mound with three RBI, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates past the St. Louis Cardinals, 9-7 Wednesday night.

The last-place Pirates got a rare victory against NL Central leader St. Louis, which lost for the 10th time in 17 games. The Pirates were 1-6 against the Cardinals this season and 5-18 the last two seasons, and had dropped 33 of 44 to them at home since PNC Park opened in 2001.

Duke (5-6) has seen the Pirates lose seven of his 14 starts by one run, only to get the decision after making one of his worst starts this season. The left-hander gave up 10 hits and five runs in five innings, but left with a 6-5 lead after twice delivering run-scoring singles against opposing starter Sidney Ponson (4-2).

Castillo had an RBI double in the second -- one of three Pirates three-run innings. He then made it 9-5 with a three-run homer off reliever Brad Thompson in the sixth. The drive to left field followed Craig Wilson's double and Freddy Sanchez's walk.

Castillo is developing into one of the NL's better offensive second basemen in his third season as a regular, with 10 homers, 38 RBI and a .297 average with 96 games remaining. The homer was Castillo's second in 12 games since he homered in five consecutive games from May 26-31.

Duke hasn't had many worse outings in his 28 starts since joining the Pirates' rotation a year ago, but hasn't had a better night at the plate. He made it 3-1 with a two-run single to right in the second inning then, after giving up four runs in the Cardinals' third to fall behind 5-3, came back with another RBI single in the three-run fourth that put Pittsburgh back into the lead.

The Pirates' bullpen was much more effective than Duke, whose 4.52 ERA through 14 starts is more than twice that of 1.81 ERA of last season, when he went 8-2 as a rookie. Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte, and Roberto Hernandez combined for three scoreless innings. Matt Capps gave up a two-run homer to Scott Rolen in the ninth.

Mike Gonzalez got the final out for his 12th save in 12 chances.

Ponson struggled throughout his 3 1-3 innings -- partly because he couldn't retire the opposing pitcher with runners in scoring position -- and lost his second in a row after going 4-0 in his first eight Cardinals starts. He gave up seven hits and six runs, leaving after Duke's second RBI single.

Jack Wilson added a run-scoring single in the fourth to end an 0-for-15 slide and Freddy Sanchez also had an RBI single while getting on base three times and scoring three times for Pittsburgh. Sanchez, not on the NL All-Star ballot because Joe Randa was expected to be the starting third baseman, has a .346 average that is second in the NL to Rolen's .358 for St. Louis.

Rolen doubled and singled his first two times up, giving him six consecutive hits to start the series. He then got out twice before hitting his eighth homer in the ninth. ^Notes:mad: Duke is hitting .241 average with five RBI. ... St. Louis' division lead was cut to two games as the Reds beat Milwaukee 3-0. ... The Pirates have won only one of their last 15 series against St. Louis, going 1-11-3. ... Juan Encarnacion had three hits and drove in two St. Louis runs.

Pirates-9 - Cardinals-7