Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Cardinals overcame two Josh Bell home runs and used a Lane Thomas grand slam to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-9 in the final clash of a three-game series at Busch Stadium Sunday.
St. Louis entered the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 8-4 before scoring five runs in the frame for a comeback victory.
"I knew he was going to throw a fastball so I just tried to get ready for it and I put a good swing on it," Thomas told reporters.
Pirates reliever Kyle Crick got Dexter Fowler to ground out in the first at-bat in the bottom of the frame. Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Marcell Ozuna followed with back-to-back singles. Paul DeJong popped out before Crick hit Yairo Munoz with a pitch in the next at-bat, loading the bases.
Krick hit Andrew Knizner with another pitch, scoring Goldschmidt. Thomas then stepped into the box. The Cardinals center fielder worked a full count against Krick before eyeing his seventh offering. He blasted the 95.4 mph fastball over the left center field fence for a 410-foot grand slam, giving the Cardinals a 9-8 advantage. The grand slam had an exit velocity of 103 mph and left the field in 5.8 seconds, according to Statcast.
"That's a game that encapsulates this team's toughness, competitive spirit. Lane's a great representation of that," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.
"Tough at-bat, tough pitches, bigger situation. He puts a big swing on it. It was obviously a huge swing to give us the lead."
Dexter Fowler gave the Cardinals some insurance with a two-run homer in the next inning. Pablo Reyes homered for the Pirates in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the solo shot was not enough to close the gap.
Bell hit a two-run homer in the first inning before hitting another two-run bomb in the fifth frame. He went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored in the loss. Bell is now hitting .284 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs on the season.
Goldschmidt was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored for St. Louis. The Cardinals first baseman is hitting .262 with 26 homers and 63 RBIs in his first season with the franchise. Thomas was 2-for-5 with five RBIs and a run scored in the victory. His other hit was a triple.
The Cardinals face the Kansas City Royals at 8:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The Pirates battle the Los Angeles Angels at 10:07 p.m. EDT Monday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.