The Cardinals bullpen blew another late inning lead Thursday afternoon but the Cardinals’ offense was able to come through in the end as the Redbirds came up with a 6-5 walkoff win in 12 innings over Pittsburgh in the final game of a three game series at Busch Stadium. It was the second walkoff win for the Cardinals in three days over the Pirates.
“There’s no question there’s something extra that plays into this,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said. “We talked about it before the series started, we wanted to play different than how we did in Pittsburgh and I think the guys played hard, they really did. Any time having a walkoff win is a big deal and having won this series is a big deal and jumping on it again today shows the resiliency of this club. They just kept playing the game right.”
“That was a good one,” Carpenter said. “That was a lot of fun. A big win for us, walkoff style.
“It was big, they’re the team we’re chasing now and the team we’re chasing in the division and one of our biggest competitors in the division,” the Cardinals’ second baseman continued. “So, to be able to win that, especially in the fashion that we did, two walkoff wins in extra innings, is a lot of fun, and we needed that. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”
Already riding a 4-for-5 day, Cardinals’ second baseman Matt Carpenter drew a one out walk in the bottom of the 12th. He moved to third on Jon Jay’s single before scoring the game winning run on a Matt Holliday single.
“I knew my job in that situation was to try and get on base,” Carpenter said. “I was able to work a walk. I laid off some tough pitches and worked the count deep and was able to do my job.”
“We did a good job of bouncing back,” Holliday said. “Winning this game could be very important for us.”
Holliday was especially excited about the walkoff win.
“We haven’t been able to do that well this year,” Holliday said. “If we get a couple of them, hopefully that’s a trend.”
Except for the fifth and the 12th innings, Carpenter was the Cardinals’ offense for most of the night.
St. Louis’ lead off hitter beat out a ground ball to first base in the first inning for a base hit and then recorded his 40th double of the season in the fourth. However, Carpenter, the National League’s runs scored leader, was doubled up in the first and left stranded in the fourth.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning when the rest of the lineup started collecting base hits and the Cardinals did so by sending every batter to the plate.
Adams led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and advanced to third on David Freese’s double. Three pitches later the Cardinals were on the scoreboard as Daniel Descalso singled to center, scoring Adams and Freese. Carpenter continued to swing a hot bat when he tripled to drive in Descalso and cut the Pirates’ lead to 4-3.
“(A.J. Burnett) just started missing over the plate,” Carpenter said. “That is the key to hitting. Pitching can beat you if they are making their pitches and he was. Then he started missing out over the plate and we were able to do some damage on it.”
The hits kept coming for St. Louis in the fifth. Carpenter scored his league leading 89th run of the season on Jay’s single before Holiday doubled home Jay to put the Redbirds in front 5-4.
That was it for Pirates’ starter A.J. Burnett. As quickly as the Pirates had staked their starter to a lead, the Cardinals erased the deficit and took a lead of their own.
The game was scoreless through the first four innings. Pittsburgh finally broke the scoreless tie with a four-spot in the top of the fifth.
It started with a leadoff single followed by rookie Andrew Lumbo’s first major league hit, an RBI double to center. Two pitches later the Pirates were up 3-0 when light hitting shortstop Clint Barmes launched his third homer of the season, a 393-foot bomb into the left field seats.
“It was three bad pitches,” Lynn said. “They were to a couple of guys who could drive the ball and they drove the ball.”
After a strikeout, Marte tripled to give the Pirates hitters a cycle in the fifth inning and then scored Pittsburgh’s fourth run on a sacrifice fly before Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn finally got out of the inning.
Lynn finished the fifth inning having thrown 90 pitches.
“It was one of those days where I wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked,” Lynn said. “I tried to do everything I could and I gave up more runs than I would have liked and more hits than I would have liked, but the offense came and bailed me out.”
After retiring the first batter of the sixth, Lynn gave up a single and was pulled in favor of rookie Sam Freeman.
Freeman got pinch hitter Gabby Sanchez to fly out to right before allowing Jose Tabata to double to left center. With runners on second and third and one out, Seth Maness was called in and struck out Barmes on five pitches.
Lynn finished the day with six strikeouts and one walk on 99 pitches. He scattered eight hits and allowed four runs over his 5.1 innings of work.
“That was a great win for us,” Lynn said. “For the offense to be able to fight back after I gave up four and get the win in extra, that’s a big time win.”
However, the only thing Lynn was rewarded with, was a no decision as Trevor Rosenthal gave up a game tying home run to Russell Martin in the eighth.
“I got behind and tried to be aggressive,” Rosenthal said. “I left it up a little too much.
After the home run, Rosenthal faced seven more batters, retiring six of them, including the final five he faced. Rosenthal struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning.
“It would be easy to kind of give in and give up,” Rosenthal said. “But, you see these guys give it their all out there and you want to try and keep focused and at least keep us in the game. That is the goal every time, to try and refocus and luckily we were able to come back and get the win.”
Kevin Siegrist came in and pitched a scoreless 12th inning to earn his first win of the season. Siegrist struck out the final two batters he faced.
After 15 days on the disabled list, Yadier Molina made it know that he was back behind the plate. Molina threw out a runner stealing early and caught another runner trying to come home on a two base fielder’s choice late in the game.  
Pirates’ outfielder Starling Marte doubled to open the game. Following a pop out and a strike out, Marte decided to try and steal third with Pedro Alvarez at the plate. Molina gunned the ball down to third, easily nailing Marte for the third out of the inning. With one out in the seventh and a runner at third, Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker lined a ball back to Matt Adams at first. Adams quickly fired home to Molina as the Cardinals catcher ran down the runner and tagged him out for the second out of the inning, maintaining a 5-4 Cardinals lead.
NOTES: Relief pitcher Seth Maness picked up his first major league hit in the bottom of the sixth. Maness started his career 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. … Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI double in the fifth inning. … The blown save was the fourth of the season for Trevor Rosenthal. The home run Rosenthal served up was his fourth of the season and his first since a June 30 loss to Oakland. … Matt Carpenter tied his career high for hits in a game with four. He last accomplished the feat on June 5, 2013 versus Arizona. … Carpenter was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle in order. He had a single in the first, a double in the fourth, and a triple in the fifth before flying out in the sixth. ... The Cardinals improved to 3-5 in extra innings this year while the Pirates fell to 9-7. … Yadier Molina was 0-for-5 in his first game back off the disabled list.