Jonathan Sanchez lasted, well, not an inning. He didn’t even manage to get an out. The Pirates found themselves in an early hole that only grew deeper as they were unable to climb out of it.
Jonathan Sanchez started tonight’s game. He gave up a leadoff homerun to Matt Carpenter. Then he gave up a homerun to Carlos Beltran. Matt Holliday didn’t homer; he just singled. His first pitch to Allen Craig hit Craig in the shoulder. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons had seen enough, and Jonathan was immediately ejected. He began to argue, and Clint Hurdle came out to argue as well. Timmons ejected Hurdle.
The always-calm catcher, Russell Martin, discussed the ejection after the game. “[Timmons] obviously thought that [Jonathan] threw at Craig on purpose. He doesn’t know Sanchez like we know him. When he overthrows, he can be a little erratic,” Martin said. “If you know Sanchez, you know that’s not his personality, that’s not who he is. My opinion is I feel like there could have been a warning maybe, but it didn’t end up that way.”
Jeanmar Gomez came in to continue the 1st inning and escaped with a double play and lineout, saving Jonathan and the Pirates from further damage, temporarily. A walk, wild pitch, and an Allen Craig single gave the Cardinals their third run in the 3rd inning. Carlos Beltran’s second homerun of the night came in the 5th inning, a 2-run shot that made it 5-0 Cards. After another walk and a strikeout, Gomez’s night was over. He pitched 4.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
Jared Hughes finished off the 5th inning with 2 quick strikeouts. It was a relief to see Jared have a good night, pitching himself out of a jam in the 6th inning and not give up a run in his 2.2 innings of work. He gave up 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 3. He was also bold enough to throw the ball dangerously close to Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn.
Vin Mazzaro pitched the 8th inning and dug the Pirates’ hole deeper. He gave up 4 runs on 5 hits, making it 9-1 Pirates going into the 9th.
Still, for a taxed bullpen, as Martin said after the game, “You definitely gotta tip your cap to those guys. They did an awesome job. They really competed. They kept their chins up and kept battling.”
The Pirates scored their only run in the 6th inning on a sacrifice play by Pedro Alvarez. Lance Lynn hit Starling Marte with a pitch, TWICE, and suffered no consequences. After the second HBP, Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell began arguing from the dugout and was ejected. Gaby Sanchez pinch-hit for Jared Hughes in the 8th inning and was hit by a pitch by Cards reliever Mitchell Boggs.
The Pirates’ half of the 8th inning ended with a double play. A double play that Neil Walker attempted to break up and only accomplished getting his hand stepped on. He had to get six stitches but said there were no issues with tendons or anything else. “Obviously gonna have to give it a few days, no moving it with stitches,” Walker said. “You try to play the game the right way, try to break up a double play, and sometimes this happens.”
So to recap all that, Pirates pitchers hit one batter, Cardinals pitchers hit 3 batters. Three Pirates were ejected, zero Cards were ejected. Seems a little unfair, right? I’ve heard that umpiring is a part of home field advantage. Maybe that’s the case here.
Writing helps me make sense of the mess that a Pirates game can sometimes be. AJ Burnett helps me make sense of things as well.
All I want to think about now is the fact that AJ pitches tomorrow. His 1.79 ERA is slightly lower than Jonathan’s 12.71 ERA. A few more innings per outing would be nice, but it’s early. He’ll face Jake Westbrook, whose last start against the Pirates was rained out and postponed after just 2 innings. Westbrook hasn’t had much success against the Pirates in the past.
Tomorrow’s game should be a breath of fresh air.