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RHATER is Gone.
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Adam Wainwright was dominant last night until the 7th inning. With his team leading 4-0 in the 7th and the bases loaded, pinch hitter Jason Michaels stepped up to the plate. Wainwright threw a first pitch fastball that Michaels lined over the left field wall for the Pirates' second gram slam of the series, and their first pinch hit one since 2003. Wainwright was dominant up to the 7th, pitching one hit ball and shutting the Pirates out. He was cruising. He just broke down. Nothing else to say. With the score tied 4-4 going into the 8th, Tony trusted Wainwright for another inning, instead of turning to the bullpen. It was a responsible move. It was Adam's game to lose, and Tony thought maybe it was just a bad inning, and if the game goes to extra innings, we'll need the bullpen rested. Unfortunately, Wainwright gave up a single to start the inning, which was later driven in by Jason Bay with two outs.

Adam reacts to giving up the grand slam.

Yadi comforting him in the dugout. Molina has done a great job working with the young pitching staff this year and in years past. He is definitely one of the untradebale players of the team.

The offense got off to a great start. Rookie Joe Mather, batting right ahead of Pujols in the 2 spot, singled in the first. He was driven in by a double by Albert. Ludwick singled after him to drive in Pujols. Ludwick even showed some speed by getting a SB, but was stranded at 2nd. The Cards struck again in the 3rd. Aaron Miles lead off with a double, and Joe Mather moved him up. On a single by Pujols, Miles scored and Mather moved to 3rd. Ryan Ludwick sacrificed Mather home to make it 4-0. That was all the offense they did for the game. After the 3rd, the Cardinals only got 4 runners on base, and only one in scoring position. The Cardinals have done well getting early leads this year, but need to continue working on adding to the lead. The offense can't just break down later and be a non factor.

Jason Michaels as he watches his grand slam leave the park.

Joe Mather is an amazing defender. Actually, or future OF will be one of the best defensive outfields that I can remember. We all know what Rick Ankiel can already do, and he's STILL JUST LEARNING the CF position. Joe Mather has made a couple highlight reel catches already (including the one last night, in the picture). Colby Rasmus has one of the best gloves in the minors, and is very athletic. On the infield, Pujols is a defensive lock at 1st, and Brendan Ryan is good at second, short, and even third. He just needs to work out a few of those rookie mistakes and he can become a sure fielder too.

The Cardinals fall to 3 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the Central, who won again. The Cubs have been playing against some bad teams like the Rockies and the Padres, but still, I hate to say this, but they're doing better than we did against those teams. At least the Cards are 9 games above .500, way above my expectations.

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