While the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates were trading games as the battle for second place in the National League Central Division rages on, the Chicago Cubs were busy sweeping the Washington Nationals. Chicago extended their lead in the division to more than seven games ahead of both the Cardinals and the Pirates, as the Cubs maintain the best record in Major League Baseball. And behind the drama that is the battle for the NL Central, Aledmys Diaz continues to baffle the league by hitting over 0.400 from the eighth spot in the line-up.
After the Pirates took the first game of the series, the Cardinals fired back with a win of their own. With the kind of ending every MLB fan hopes for, Matt Carpenter hit a two-run walk-off homer after the Pirates tied things up 4-4 in the 9th inning.As the Cards and Bucs play on Sunday afternoon, the winner will be in second place in the NL Central, still multiple games behind the Chicago Cubs.
After going 2-for-4 against the Pirates on Saturday afternoon, Aledmys Diaz once again has the highest batting average in the major leagues at 0.402 (tied with Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals). He also leads the MLB in slugging percentage (.696) and OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) at 1.134. His ability to get on base has earned him a spot tied for sixth in the majors for runs (23) despite having the fewest number of at-bats of anyone in the Top 25. He's tied for 10th in doubles (10). He has more base hits than anyone else on the St. Louis squad (37) and has only struck out eight times all season.In this series against the Pirates, Diaz is 5-for-8. He didn't have any extra-base hits, but he did score a run in both games so far.
Cards vs. Pirates: 2016
St. Louis dropped the first game of the series against Pittsburgh on Friday night, so the current series is tied 1-1. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, it will be a better series for St. Louis than the first time the Cards and Bucs met this year. St. Louis traveled to Pittsburgh for the season opener and dropped their first three games of the year to the Pirates.
#MLB | Matt Carpenter despacha cuadrangular de 2 carreras y los #Cardinals dejan en el terreno a los #Pirates, 6x4: pic.twitter.com/3O2nB1IOeB
— La Paralela BB (@LaParalelaBB) May 8, 2016
After Sunday afternoon's game, it will be almost exactly a month before the division rivals face-off again. On June 10, the Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh for another three-game series. The Pirates come to Busch Stadium in July for a four-game series.
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Upcoming St. Louis Cardinals Schedule
Sunday's rubber game against the Pirates is the last contest the Cards will have in Busch Stadium until May 17. After 10 straight games at home, St. Louis will begin their next road trip.
@D2_Derpinator @kremmits @Cubs Really needed to have one more person just to anger the @Cardinals fans. pic.twitter.com/7W2aXBF1Yd
— Ramblin Grimace (@RamblinGrimace) May 6, 2016
The Cardinals will get one day off after the Pirates on Sunday. Then they'll have one day to travel to Los Angeles, where they'll start a three-game series with the Angels on Tuesday. Then on Friday, they'll stay in town for another three-game series against the LA Dodgers. They'll have one day off after that before a nine-game homestretch, featuring series with the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Chicago Cubs.
Where To Watch
The St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Game 3 of the series) is set for Sunday, May 8. Plenty of tickets are still available for the Cards-Pirates game directly through the Cardinals' website to watch the Cards vs. Pirates live at Busch Stadium. Sunday's match-up will be another afternoon game, scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. CST.Sunday's game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates will be televised regionally on FOX Sports Midwest, with coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. CST.
[Photo credit Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]