ST. LOUIS -- Kolten Wong hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to top the Pirates, 3-2, Saturday at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals second ninth-inning victory in three days.It looked like the Pirates would be limited to one run behind starter Chad Kuhl, but Austin Meadows
ST. LOUIS -- Kolten Wong hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to top the Pirates, 3-2, Saturday at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals second ninth-inning victory in three days.
It looked like the Pirates would be limited to one run behind starter Chad Kuhl, but Austin Meadows tied the game in the ninth with a solo home run to right, breaking a three inning scoreless spell. Meadows was named the National League Rookie of the Month on Saturday.
Kuhl allowed two runs on four hits in six innings following Jameson Taillon's impressive eight-inning shutout against the Cardinals Friday night, and all the backup he received was a pair solo home runs from Colin Moran in the fifth and Meadows' in the final frame. The Pirates' recent struggles in the bullpen limited their options late in the game, making starting pitching crucial, and Kuhl delivered.
The Cardinals got on the board in the second when Marcell Ozuna hit his 100th career home run.
"I try not to give up any homers, but I give up a solo and just move on," Kuhl said. "Obviously it's not ideal, but they're not going to kill you."
Kuhl was tested in the fifth when Tommy Pham doubled to left, scoring Greg Garcia and advancing Luke Weaver to third. Kuhl then again faced Ozuna, who reached twice already, and forced him to ground out and end the inning, limiting the damage to just one run.
"We had kind of lived away. We fell behind 3-0 but tried to stay out of the middle of the plate. I think that was key there to get back into the count, 3-1," Kuhl said. "Show some breaking balls and just stay on the inner half because we've been living on the outside and he's hurt out there. So we tried to stay inside and show him something he hadn't seen in the previous two at bats."
Tyler Glasnow and Kyle Crick pitched two solid innings of relief to give the Pirates a chance for a late-game rally before Richard Rodriguez gave up the homer to Wong. This marked the first home run Rodriguez had given up to a lefty this season.
"It's not the result we wanted," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Two [opportunities] for shutdown innings -- we needed in the fifth and ninth. We didn't get one in each spot."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Meadows hit a solo home run to right to tie the game at 2-2 in the eighth inning. The rookie went up to the plate late in a game on the road against a division rival on a day the Pirates struggled to score and turned on a 2-1 pitch.
"I was looking for that first pitch, I think he missed outside and then missed up, so he gave me a good count to hit in," Meadows said. "I put a good swing [on it] and fouled [it] off, then, 2-1, he threw one inside that I was able to get to there. For me, it was just trying to get on base."
HE SAID IT
"I just found out on my phone actually so it hasn't hit me. I think my friend texted me and I was like 'what are you talking about?' so I'm blessed to be able to do that. That's kind of shocking honestly. But being able to do that, I'm definitely going to be able to celebrate that later on, but right now I'm just trying to help the team win." -- Meadows, on finding out about the Rookie of the Month Award
Right-hander Nick Kingham (2-1, 3.75 ERA) opposes righty Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.71) on the hill in the series finale at 2:15 p.m. ET Sunday at Busch Stadium. Kingham threw seven shutout innings against the Cards on Apr. 29 in his first career start. Wacha has yet to face the Pirates this season.
** Sean Collins ** is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.