Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Adams Comes through in the 10th

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Adams Comes through in the 10th

Article excerpt

There are percentages and then there are percentages.

Doubles machine Matt Carpenter hit his 14th two-base hit in 22 games, a drive into the right-field corner to send Jon Jay to third, where third-base coach Jose Oquendo applied the brakes with two out in the 10th inning of a white knuckle 1-1 game with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on Friday night. To the plate stepped righthanded-hitting Matt Holliday, a .379 batsman for the season, against righthanded reliever Rob Scahill. There was a base open but a lefthanded hitter, Matt Adams, was next.

The traditional right vs. right percentage move would be to pitch to Holliday. But Pirates manager Clint Hurdle knew of the other percentages, the 1.000 batting average and 2.333 slugging percentage that Holliday had against Scahill in three career at-bats, which encompassed a single, double and a home run.

So, Hurdle ordered the intentional walk and Adams, who had only two plate appearances against Scahill (an out and a walk) in the majors but who had seen the sinkerballer in Class AA, quickly ruined that strategy by lining an opposite-field single to left field to score Jay with the winning run in a 2-1 Cardinals victory.

The game was not atypical from the games these two teams have played in the last couple of years. Last year, for instance, the Cardinals and Pirates, who met for the first time Friday before a paid house of 40,912, played 12 games decided by one or two runs, including eight by one run.

"I thought we'd take a shot with a guy who hadn't seen (Scahill)," said Hurdle, referring to Adams' major league at-bats against the Pittsburgh pitcher.

"Three for three. The numbers were in Holliday's favor. It didn't work."

Carpenter said he was surprised by Hurdle's move. "Holliday's a great player. And (Hurdle) knows he's a great player. Righty on righty with a guy with a good sinker ... I feel like that guy isn't suited to get lefties out.

"(Hurdle) knows his pitchers better than I do, but, yes, I was surprised. I think he's looking up at the batting averages and it says .380 and he says, 'I'm not sure I want to do this (pitch to Holliday).'"

Scahill, in turn, didn't second-guess his pitch.

"It was a sinker down and away, on the corner. It was a good pitch and I would throw that pitch again," said Scahill.

The Adams of a week or so ago might have tried to yank the pitch into right field. The confident Adams you're seeing now hit the ball where it was pitched, making many fans happy in his native western Pennsylvania and some others watching on television equally unhappy.

In his last four games, Adams is nine for 18 with seven runs batted in, giving him the team lead at 15.

"Any time you get those amount of hits, your confidence goes through the roof," said Adams.

Adams said he thought the Pirates would pitch to Holliday. "There were two outs," said Adams. …

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