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David Brown

The Juice: Cardinals blow chance to tie in ninth; Pirates hold on

Big League Stew

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Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at PNC Park, where the Pittsburgh Pirates came through with an unlikely denial of a comeback bid by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Game of the Day: Pirates 4, Cardinals 3

Achtung, baby! Albert Pujols(notes) had done it, coming through with a single off the glove of third baseman Pedro Alvarez(notes) that bled into shallow left field. Randy Winn(notes), potentially the tying run, rounded third as shortstop Ronny Cedeño raced to track down the ball.

All Winn had to do was keep running home, but third-base coach Jose Oquendo — with one out and Matt Holliday(notes) coming up next — played it conservatively and put up his hands to stop Winn.

"In that situation, you've got to be 100-percent sure," Winn said. "There's nothing worse than me getting thrown out instead of having the bases loaded and one of the best hitters in the game coming up."

It was a mistake, taking an RBI away from Albert like that.

Watch the Cardinals almost score

He shall inherit the save: It was the break the Pirates needed. Holliday and Felipe Lopez(notes) popped up against Evan Meek(notes), who converted his second save in eight chances (yeesh) and the Cards missed another chance to gain on first-place Cincinnati. The Redbirds not only had blown the comeback, but they lost with Adam Wainwright(notes) on the hill.

"At this point of the season we've got to win every game we can, and if I even hold them to one (run) right there we probably win that game," Wainwright said. "You can put it on me."

The Pirates came in having won 2 of 15, and were 1-5 against the Cardinals this season. The Cardinals are 53-27 in Pittsburgh since 2001. The Bucs are on pace for their worst season since 1952, when they lost 112 games.

We can't stress this enough: The Pirates are awful.

And yet...

"It was nice to go out there and seal the deal, even if it was a little dramatic," Meek said

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They Also Played...

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Giants 16, Reds 5: The Reds have been outscored 27-7 in the first two games of the series. ... Oh, it appears the Panda has been eating his bamboo shoots. Pablo Sandoval(notes): 3 for 5, HR, four RBIs. The performance sparked this moment in the Giants clubhouse:

Pat Burrell(notes) stopped on his way to the shower and pulled Sandoval into a celebratory Panda hug.

"Come on, baby," Burrell said.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Rays 10, Angels 3: The whole one-run game thing was getting old anyhow.

Padres 5, D-backs 0: If he keeps this up for a few more years, Chris Denorfia(notes) is going to find himself enshrined in the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame. That's for Ital-i-ans, you know. ... The Padres have gone 112-74 since the final two months of the 2009. Chew on that!

Mariners at Red Sox, ppd. (rain): Or was it Boston crying because Johnny Damon(notes) rejected the Beantowners for the last time?

Rockies 5, Braves 2: Three in a row today, 33 in a row in a month. Make it happen if youse want to sees Rocktober.

Dodgers 5, Brewers 3: When Manny Ramirez(notes) was in Cheeseland/let my ManRam go...

White Sox 7, Orioles 5: Ozzie Guillen says Chicago also might be in the market for a relief pitcher if Matt Thornton(notes) and J.J. Putz(notes) go on the DL: "I'm not going to say we're in trouble, but everyone in the bullpen has to pick it up for the next seven days."

Mets 6, Marlins 5: You know what it takes to build a ballpark in South Florida? It takes brass balls.

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Rangers 4, Twins 3: How are we supposed to behold the power of Carl Pavano's(notes) mustache when Michael Young(notes) goes and does this? And was it really necessary for Andres Blanco(notes) (pictured) to perform kabuki during the postgame show? Do that on your own time, señor.

Astros 4, Phillies 2: Understandable umpiring grievances aside, the Phillies need to do a better job of pounding lame teams such as the Astros into, as Mike Tyson would say, Bolivian.

Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5: No Jose Bautista(notes) carryover. He didn't hit any more homers and nobody on the Yankees hit him.

Tigers 9, Royals 1: KC's one run, on a homer by Kila Ka'aihue(notes), came after Rick Porcello(notes) already had done his business.

Cubs 5, Nationals 4: Hopefully, Carlos Zambrano(notes) won't have to return until his 11-year-old nephew, who reportedly is gravely ill, is healthy again.

Athletics 5, Indians 0: The White Sox traded Gio Gonzalez(notes) at least two or three times too many.

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