The Pittsburgh Pirates entered the series opener of a four-game slate in St. Louis with sole possession of second place in the National League Central Division.
The Pirates were coming off a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, while the Cardinals had just lost two of three against the Miami Marlins.
However, the Cardinals have made up that lost ground rather quickly with back-to-back wins against the Pirates in dramatic fashion.
On Monday, Matt Adams broke a scoreless tie with a two-run home run off Justin Wilson in the bottom of the ninth inning. Adams planted his 10th home run of the year into the right field seats — improving the Cardinals to 48-42, while dropping the Pirates to 47-42.
The blast was the Cardinals' first walk-off home run of the year.
"I don't think I touched the dirt the whole way around," Adams said in an article by Jennifer Langosh. "This is unbelievable. I don't even know what to say."
But his manager Mike Matheny did.
"It was exactly what we were hoping for," He said. "We were able to get Adams up there to do something special."
Adams went 2 for 4 on Monday to improve his batting average to .331. The 25-year old from Philipsburg, Pa sports an .880 on-base plus slugging percentage and 149 total bases, which equals his total from last year — his first full season in the major leagues.
Adams is riding a six-game hitting streak and is 13 for his last 37 at-bats. Kolten Wong went hitless on Monday and has been the complete opposite of Adams as of late.
Wong was just 4 for his last 28 at bats entering Tuesday's game. But he made his next hit one to remember and one to forget for his recent slump.
In the bottom of the ninth facing Ernesto Frieri and an 0-2 count, Wong hit a solo home run and broke a tie for a 5-4 win.
"This year has been such a roller coaster for me — up and down, up and down," Wong said on the official team website. "To finally get this to happen — this is one of the top things that has happened to me in my career. It's awesome."
Wong was disciplined after the next three pitches to work a 3-2 count before turning on a fastball down the middle for his third home run of the season. It landed near the exact same spot as Adams' from the night before.
So far in the series, the Pirates have left 19 runners on base. The Cardinals have left just seven.
Pitching has been superb, thus far in the week, from both teams. Charlie Morton allowed just one Cardinals hit over seven innings on Monday, while Adam Wainwright lasted seven innings and allowed seven hits.
On Tuesday, Pirates starter Vance Worley allowed four runs over five innings on nine hits, still his worst outing in his short stint with Pittsburgh. Frieri has been disappointing for his short time with the Pirates. The reliever who was traded over from the Los Angeles Angels is now 1-4 with a 7.41 earned run average. Carlos Martinez also allowed four runs. He lasted six innings and allowed eight hits.
Brandon Cumpton, filling in for Gerrit Cole who was recently put on the 15-day disabled list, takes the hill for Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Lance Lynn goes for the Cardinals.
There's two games left in this pivotal NL Central series. If they're anything like the first two, fans of both teams are in for a treat.
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