1925 Pirate Replay, September 11: Knuckleballer Stops Pirates in 5-3 Loss

Cardinals’ knuckleballer Jesse Haines frustrated the Pirates for most of the game as the Pirates dropped a 5-3 decision in St. Louis.  Lefty Red Oldham, pressed into duty for his third start of the year, turned in a complete game, but had trouble with a backup outfielder.  With the Giants beating Brooklyn, the Bucs’ first-place lead fell to seven games.

Oldham allowed just seven hits over his eight innings and mostly held the Cards’ better hitters in check, but got hurt by the lesser lights.  That started in the bottom of the first, after leadoff hitter Ray Blades reached second when second baseman Eddie Moore dropped his pop fly.  Little-known Ralph Shinners, starter in center field, followed with an RBI single.  Two innings later, Shinners followed a walk to Blades with a home run to left, putting St. Louis up, 3-0.

The Pirates meanwhile couldn’t get anywhere with Haines.  They had three walks in the first two innings, but didn’t get their first hit until a two-out single by Pie Traynor in the fourth.

The visitors didn’t get another hit until Max Carey led off the sixth with a single.  Moore doubled him to third and a ground out by Kiki Cuyler brought in one run.  After Clyde Barnhart walked, Pie Traynor singled to score Moore and send Barnhart to third.  That was Traynor’s 100th RBI of the year.  With two out, Traynor and Barnhart pulled a delayed double steal, Barnhart’s steal of home tying the game, 3-3.

After Shinners’ homer, Oldham retired twelve straight.  That stretch ended in the bottom of the seventh on a one-out infield single by Les Bell.  With two out, light-hitting shortstop Tommy Thevenow tripled to put the Cards ahead, and Haines followed with a single to make it 5-3.

Oldham held St. Louis hitless the rest of the way, but the Pirates couldn’t counter against Haines.  Their best chance came in the ninth, when pinch hitters Carson Bigbee and Earl Smith started the inning with singles.  The rally didn’t last long, as Carey popped up and Moore bounced into a double play.

Oldham took his first loss of the year, falling to 2-1.  Carey and Traynor each had two hits.