J-Hey's hand- and footprints all over win
ST. LOUIS -- He may not have tallied the game-deciding hit in the Cardinals' 4-3 win over the Pirates on Tuesday night, but Jason Heyward nonetheless had his handprints -- and footprints -- all over the team's 41st home victory.
Heyward found himself in the middle of all sorts of action -- first as the center of a replay review, then with a near catch at the top of the wall, and eventually with a pair of singles, one of which required a nifty dive to elude a tag and the other driving in a key run.
"You don't want to get bored out there," said Heyward, who ran no risk of that as he notched his first multi-RBI game since July 18. "Especially games like this, against good teams, you want to be active, and be a part of the game."
Heyward tied the score in the first inning with a productive forceout that required an assist from instant replay. Initially called out in what would have been an inning-ending double play, Heyward was shown to have beaten Jung Ho Kang's throw to take his rightful place at first base. In overturning the call, the umpires awarded the Cardinals their first run.
Heyward then loaded the bases in the third by sliding around a lunging Pedro Alvarez, who had fielded Heyward's slow grounder. It was Heyward's 13th infield hit of the season, the most on the club.
"We love the way he's playing the game, how hard he's going all the way around," manager Mike Matheny said of Heyward, who has hit safely in 36 of his last 48 games. "Those little things do make a difference."
Heyward's single in the fifth inning was cleaner and sent home another run to pull the Cardinals to within one. It also helped extend an inning that later featured a sacrifice fly by Yadier Molina and go-ahead RBI single from Stephen Piscotty.
"I'm just trying to be patient enough to get a good pitch to hit," Heyward said of his approach in the fifth inning. "[Pirates starter Jeff] Locke made some pitches throughout the game that were borderline. That's the way he works. I don't feel the one he made was bad. I was just able to muscle it through the right side there."
Heyward nearly added a web gem to his evening's activity when he tracked Gregory Polanco's deep fly ball to the right-field wall in the third, only to have the ball glance off his glove and back onto the field for a triple.
"It's a tough ball as far as judging whether to get up on the fence or stay down," Heyward said of the play. "I think I can catch everything, that's probably why I'm too hard on myself at times. I didn't feel it was too far over my head. I'm happy enough I was able to keep it in."