In what can only be called the worst case scenario, the Cardinals defeated the Red Sox Tuesday night, and A.J. Pierzynski scored the game-winning run.
If you're looking for a one-word summary, "loathsome" seems appropriate.
On the mound, Rubby De La Rosa turned in the sort of effective, but underwhelming performance that has become commonplace for him of late. He walked at least as many batters as he has struck out in his three previous starts, and tonight was no different. More fastball-heavy then ever, De La Rosa lacked an out pitch in more ways than one, struggling to put batters away with two strikes, and also lacking an effective backup option when he lost control of his fastball.
Both situations would arise in the fourth inning, when De La Rosa threw 10 straight fastballs to Matt Holliday, Mike Adams, and Jhonny Peralta. Holliday doubled to center, and while Adams fell behind 1-2, De La Rosa's third two-strike pitch to him was a high fastball taken back up the middle for an RBI single to put the Cardinals ahead 1-0. De La Rosa would walk the next two batters--including A.J. Pierzynski on four fastballs--before escaping the inning when Oscar Taveras swung at the first pitch he saw, grounding into a double play.
For all his issues, that was the only run Rubby would give up, allowing the Red Sox to even the game up in the very next inning when Daniel Nava reached second base on an error, moved to third on Xander Bogaerts' ground out, and scored on Christian Vazquez' sacrifice fly. Nava was again part of a scoring rally in the seventh, singling Yoenis Cespedes to second before a combination of a sacrifice bunt and ground ball brought Boston's new outfielder home to score. It might have been the second run of the night for Cespedes, but he had been thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball after a leadoff triple in the second.
As with St. Louis' fourth-inning lead, however, Boston did not stay ahead for so much as an inning. Replacing De La Rosa, Tommy Layne gave up the equalizing run on a walk and a single in the bottom of the seventh, setting up the most frustrating of eighth innings, when Junichi Tazawa would surrender three straight two-out singles--the first coming from A.J. Pierzynski, and the last scoring him from third--to leave the Red Sox trailing 3-2. Yoenis Cespedes picked up his third hit of the game to lead off the ninth, but with nobody so much as moving him along, Trevor Rosenthal was able to notch the save and give the Cardinals the win.
The Red Sox could hardly have been expected to win. 49-62 rarely trumps 59-51. But they could at least have lost to someone other than A.J. Pierzynski. The hits just keep coming in 2014.