Twenty of the 26 players on the Cardinals’ roster appeared, including every position player. Six relievers handled seven innings while hitters off the bench provided three runs, including the decisive run scored by Carlson’s replacement, Jose Rondon.
“Expecting to play — which is a big part of it,” Shildt said of the backbenchers’ readiness. “What a team effort. Pretty much everybody participated in this one. Feel good about getting the last one here on a tough turnaround and smoking hot day.”
The win by a radiance of Cardinals secured their first sweep of a three-game series in nearly six weeks and their seventh of the season. Two have come in Pittsburgh.
LeBlanc, whose arrival helped steady the rotation throughout July, will travel to St. Louis to have scans taken of his left elbow Friday and determine the cause of the pain and potential treatment. Carlson traveled Thursday night with the Cardinals to Kansas City, where he’ll have an MRI taken of his right wrist to determine its integrity. With opening day starter Jack Flaherty scheduled Friday to make his first appearance since May 31, the Cardinals need a spot on the active roster and could place LeBlanc on the injured list if he’ll miss even his next start.
But first they had to navigate the innings unmanned by LeBlanc’s departure.
The widespread and aggressive use of the roster necessary Thursday was made possible Wednesday. Adam Wainwright’s shutout on 88 pitches meant the bullpen went undisturbed, nary a teammate warmed up, and Shildt had arms to carry the leftover load. T. J. McFarland took the first shift and got a double play to end his assignment after three batters. Andrew Miller drew the fourth, and Colin Moran greeted him with a solo homer. The Pirates’ lefthanded-hitting erased the Cardinals’ early 1-0 lead with a three-run homer off LeBlanc in the first and his homer off Miller gave him six career homers off lefthanded pitching.