Story and video by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Getty Images
ST. LOUIS — I wondered briefly if Gregory Polanco was injured when he failed to run out a ground ball in the sixth inning last night. He hit a bouncer to the right side and third baseman Jedd Gyorko, who was shifted, snagged the ball and threw to pitcher Adam Wainwright, who was covering first.
Any doubts I had about whether Polanco’s legs were healthy were erased over the next three innings. In the bottom of the sixth, the Cardinals had Stephen Piscotty on the move from first base with one out when Jose Martinez hit a blooper to shallow left. Polanco ran in, dove to catch the ball inches off the grass and tumbled hard. Polanco then got up and threw to first base to double off Piscotty.
It was the Polanco’s second outfield assist of the season and his first as a right fielder. He also made superb running catches in the seventh and eighth innings. “Look at the plays Polanco made out in right field,” manager Clint Hurdle gushed after the game. “We were talking 10 days ago about him not making plays, and he lays out for three balls tonight.”
>>> UPDATE 4:22 PM CT — Polanco said he got a poor break out of the batter’s box because the pitch jammed him inside and he tried to veer out of the way. Hurdle offered a similar assessment, but did not excuse Polanco for the execution and said Polanco was made aware of that.
>>> Josh Lindblom was activated off the disabled list and sent outright to Triple-A Indy. The righty reliever had been out since May 20 with left side discomfort.
>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links
Some postgame video of Jameson Taillon, with clubhouse hijinks amid the background noise:
Pirates 4, Cardinals 3: Dude, that’s a pretty clutch homer.
Notebook: In which the division stinks, Stewie says he can be the man, and more draft picks take the money and sign.
>>> Saturday, Pirates at Cardinals, 7:15 p.m., Busch Stadium, St. Louis. TV: Fox. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates (34-40): Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Jordy Mercer 6, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Gerrit Cole (5-6, 4.28)
Cardinals (33-39): Matt Carpenter 3, Dexter Fowler 8, Tommy Pham 7, Jedd Gyorko 5, Jose Martinez 9, Paul DeJong 6, Greg Garcia 4, Eric Fryer 2, RHP Lance Lynn (5-4, 3.33)
Gamecast: Since the All-Star Game was first played in 1933, Josh Bell’s 13 hour runs (through Thursday) are the second-most by a Pirates rookie in the first half of the season. Ralph Kiner hit 15 before the break in 1946. … In 17 games vs. the Cardinals, his hometown team, David Freese hit .333 (19 for 57) overall and .358 (19 for 53) in his 13 starts. … In 11 career starts vs. the Cardinals, Cole is 5-4 with a 2.84 ERA. He’s 2-4 with a 3.11 ERA in six starts at Busch Stadium.
>>> Sunday, Pirates at Cardinals, 8:05 p.m., Busch Stadium, St. Louis. TV: ESPN. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (2-6, 5.46) Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake (5-6, 3.03)
>>> Monday: Off
>>> Tuesday, Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rays: RHP Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05) Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.09)
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.