"Might have been sometime in college," he said.
It is a long way from Slippery Rock to St. Louis, and the Cardinals
first baseman rescued an offense on the precipice of an empty night.
Adams' two-run blast with one out in the bottom of the ninth Monday
gave St. Louis a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh at sold-out Busch Stadium,
jumping the Cardinals over the Pirates into second place in the
National League Central.
The stoic Adams, who rarely shows emotion, threw his fist in the air
after his 398-foot homer off Justin Wilson (2-1) settled into the
right field bleachers. It was the first walk-off homer for St. Louis
since David Freese beat the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the 2011
Adams' 10th homer of the season was just the Cardinals' third hit of
the night -- two by Adams, raising his batting average to .331.
"That was the play we put on," joked St. Louis manager Mike Matheny.
"We needed that. That's an understatement."
Third baseman Matt Carpenter drew a leadoff walk against Wilson,
Carpenter's third base on balls of the night. After left fielder
Matt Holliday flied out, Adams jumped on an 0-1 curveball that
lingered over the plate.
"You've got to respect his fastball because he can throw 95 to 98
miles per hour," Adams said of Wilson. "I can't describe the feeling
I had running around the bases. I knew it was gone as soon as I hit
The homer made a winner of first-time All-Star Pat Neshek (3-0), who
pitched a clean ninth as the Cardinals improved to 48-42 and moved
within four games of first-place the Milwaukee Brewers. Pittsburgh
(47-42) took just its fourth loss in 16 games.
Pirates starter Charlie Morton couldn't have pitched any better
against a team that pounded him to the tune of a 6.11 ERA in 15
prior starts. Morton allowed just one hit -- Adams' two-out double
in the first -- and walked two while striking out five in seven
Pittsburgh couldn't score a run off St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright
despite touching him for seven hits and three walks over seven
innings. Wainwright, who whiffed five and counted few stress-free
pitches among his 112 offerings, stranded nine runners in his ninth
scoreless outing in 18 starts.
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"I had command of my at-em ball," cracked Wainwright. "It was a
grindy kind of start. It's not how you want to go about it, but I
was fortunate to come away with no runs. My curve got better as the
game went along, but my fastball command was shoddy."
Sam Freeman tight-roped through the eighth, leaving the bases loaded
when pinch hitter Gregory Polanco waved at a 1-2 slider off the
zone. The Pirates went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and
left 12 men aboard.
"We knew it would be tough against Wainwright," said Pittsburgh
second baseman Neil Walker, who went 2-for-3 with a walk. "He's the
best pitcher in baseball for a reason. We did a good job of working
the count against him and making him throw a lot of pitches, but he
has a way of getting out of innings."
Wainwright's grit and Pittsburgh's inability to come up with one
clutch knock set the stage for the man called "Big City" to deliver
the game's only big hit.
"He's deserving of things like that," Wainwright said of Adams.
"He's just scratching the surface of what he can do."
NOTES: St. Louis recalled LHP Tyler Lyons from Triple-A Memphis and
optioned LHP Marco Gonzales to Memphis. It appears likely that RHP
Joe Kelly (hamstring) will be activated from the 15-day disabled
list to start Friday night in Milwaukee. ... Pittsburgh LHP
Francisco Liriano (left oblique strain) made his first rehab start
for Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday against Lehigh Valley, tossing
six scoreless innings and retiring the last 15 batters he faced.
Liriano has been on the disabled list since June 11. ... Cardinals
RHP Michael Wacha (right shoulder stress reaction) underwent an MRI
exam Monday that showed improvement, but not enough for him to start
throwing again. GM John Mozeliak said Wacha would undergo another
MRI in two weeks.
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