Oscar Taveras debuts & hits home run to beat San Francisco Giants
By Mark ONeill
In his major league debut, Oscar Taveras, just called up from the minor leagues, proved that everything that was being written about him just might be accurate. With a profound sense of timing, he got his first major league base hit, a home run off of Yusmeiro Petit, just as the clouds burst and a torrential rain began to fall, making the score 1-0. The St. Louis Cardinals went on to defeat the San Francisco Giants, 2-0, Saturday afternoon, as Bruce Bochy sat Buster Posey for the third straight game.
Rain delayed the game twice, once for forty-seven minutes during the bottom of the fifth, and once for fifty-one minutes at the start of the seventh inning.
Despite the delays, pitching was definitely highlighted today, from both teams, but it was the Cardinals’ turn to prevail, as the Giants went quietly to defeat, striking out thirteen times in the process. After solving Adam Wainwright last night, San Francisco could do nothing against starter Michael Wacha, or the trio of relievers who finished out the final three innings.
Even though the first rain stoppage delayed the game for forty-seven minutes, both starters returned to the contest. Michael Wacha had already pitched five complete innings before the rain descended, allowing just Michael Morse’s lead-off double in the second, and hitting Gregor Blanco with a high fastball, in apparent retaliation for the Kolten Wong plunking yesterday.
May 5, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (52) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Wacha was not as sharp in his return for the sixth inning, giving up singles to both Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval, who extended his hitting streak to eleven games. The Giants had the right guy up in Morse, but he struck out to end the inning. After the second rain delay, sanity prevailed and neither starter returned to the game.
Before the first delay, Yusmeiro Petit had gone four and a third innings, giving up only the home run to Oscar Taveras and a lead-off single in the fourth to Matt Carpenter, who extended his hitting streak to thirteen. During his second stint, he showed few ill effects from the delay, retiring five of the six batters he faced, while giving up his only base on balls to Wong in the sixth inning. Petit also struck out five during his six innings.
Sam Freeman came into the game in the top of the seventh to pitch to Hector Sanchez, after play resumed the second time. Freeman retired the side in order, Pat Neshek did the same in the eighth, and Trevor Rosenthal capped it off by striking out the side in the ninth.
Aside from Taveras’ home run, the Cards managed only three more base hits, Jhonny Peralta driving in the second run of the game with a seventh inning double off of George Kontos.
In always looking for the unusual in a baseball game, today’s oddity occurred when play resumed in the top of the seventh and Hector Sanchez took up his batting stance from the right side of the plate. The funny part was that when rain interrupted his at-bat, fifty-one minutes earlier, he had been batting from the left side. Of course, the explanation is that lefty Sam Freeman had come on to pitch in place of righty Wacha.
With the Giants having been so hot of late, it was inevitable that the bats would quiet down. The lack of hitting was not helped by Buster Posey sitting out his third straight game due to a back issue, along with Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan on the bench.
If the lads can rally behind Tim Hudson tomorrow, and nail the fourth and final game of the series, all will be declared a great success. After all, I said before the series began that I would be happy to settle for a split. So I’m happy and anything else is bacon in the kale.