HBT Weekend Wrapup

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Doug Masters: What’s the hold-up?

Tower: We are having trouble finding a jeep suitable for your, um, purposes.

Doug Masters: Bullsh**, you’ve got a whole country full of them!  You just lost a refinery!  Looks like they’ll be importing oil this year, Chappy!

At least that’s what I made of the news from Libya this weekend.  I had the sound down, though. Really, though, would that have made any less sense than what’s really happening?

  • Grady Sizemore has been ruled out for Opening Day. Really, though, the day after the trade deadline is his Opening Day this year, ain’t it?
  • Quote of the weekend from D.J. Short: “I, for one, look forward to reading Jon Heyman’s reaction when Castillo signs a contract before David Eckstein.”  Well, Castillo signed before Eckstein. And Heyman hates it. Seems that Castillo “exudes mopey-ness.” That kind of trenchant analysis is why SI pays him the big bucks.
  • I was 14 years-old the last time a baseball season began without Tim Wakefield on someone’s roster, be it in the minors or the majors. I presume that the streak will continue, but not for too much longer.
  • I like slam dunks that take me to the hoop, my favorite play is the alley oop. I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go, but when they said “ball Zack?” he should have just said no!
  • Mookie Wilson reclaims the number 1 jersey for the Mets. Mookie Calcaterra did not appreciate me pointing out that her nicknamesake was in the news again.
  • Brian Wilson strained his oblique. Brian Wilson is oblique. I sense irony.
  • Curt Schilling referred to his 2004 Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez as a “cheater.” Which, while not particularly polite, is true.  There are a lot of things that one could call Schilling that aren’t polite but which are true too.
  • Am I the only one who wasn’t aware that the White Sox’ closer’s job was actually up for grabs? I assumed it was Matt Thornton’s job the day Bobby Jenks split. The things you learn reading HardballTalk!
  • With the release of Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez all but gone, that leaves Carlos Beltran as the last guy for Mets fans to kick around. Except the kicking of Beltran never made any kind of sense whatsoever. Anyway, he’s playing again.
  • Pat Neshek was waived by the Twins and picked up by the Padres. Hard to think of a better place for a pitcher to have a fresh start than in Petco Park.
  • Ryan Zimmerman resumes baseball activities.  I too resumed baseball activities yesterday, having bought my son and daughter their first baseball gloves, a ball, bat and tee. We left the tee and bat aside for the time being and just focused on trying to play catch. The first 15 minutes were spent with both of them trying to explain to me how silly it was for right-handed people to wear the glove on their left hand. The next ten minutes were spent with the ball bouncing off the heels of their gloves and into their chins, faces and shoulders.  Then it was decided that it was great fun for daddy to simply throw the ball up in the air as high as he could and catch it, which was met with a round of applause each time.  Then they walked over near the bushes and started digging up worms, holding them on the ends of sticks and chasing the other one with them. Baseball activities may have been resumed a bit too early.

And on we go into the last full week with no baseball that counts until November.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.