St. Louis Cardinals outlast Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 in extras


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The Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 in the tenth inning of Friday night in the opening game of the series. Both teams had eight hits, but the Pirate offense failed once again to provide starting pitcher A.J. Burnett with run support. While Burnett was dominant, fanning seven over six innings of no-run ball, the Pirates left six men on base, grounded into two double plays, and had only one extra base hit (a double off the bat of Jordy Mercer).

The Bucco’s first hit didn’t come until the fourth inning on a single from Gregory Polanco, and the team’s only run came off the bat of Burnett when he singled to center in the top of the sixth, scoring Francisco Cervelli from third. The Cardinals tied the game in an eventful seventh inning when the Pirates threw out four relief pitchers (Arquimedes Caminero, Antonio Bastardo, Jared Hughes, and Tony Watson) and pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds knocked in Jhonny Peralta on an infield single.

Rob Scahill came in to pitch the ninth and tenth innings, and yielded his first run of the year on an RBI single from Matt Adams in the tenth, the game-winner.

What Stood Out

A.J. Burnett was the lone star of the game, as he continued the dominance displayed by Pirates’ pitchers this season. While he had 97 pitches at the end of the sixth and walked three batters, the final result is what matters. He gave up no runs on two hits and lowered his ERA on the season to a staff-leading 1.45.

Francisco Cervelli has been a pleasant surprise for the Pirates so far in 2015. He netted two hits on the day and raised his average to .271 on the year. Last year’s starting Pirates’ catcher, Russell Martin, is batting a lowly .185 in Toronto.

Andrew McCutchen got another hit Friday night, slightly raising his average to .197 after it once hovered below .180. The team is hoping his nagging injury continues to be a nuisance or less, nothing more.

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What’s Next

The two teams face off in the second matchup of the series Saturday afternoon at 2:15 PM at Busch Stadium. Francisco Liriano (1-2), owner of a 2.22 ERA on the season, takes the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates (12-11) while John Lackey (1-1), owner of a 4.21 ERA on the year, takes the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals (16-6). The weather is expected to hover around 70 degrees by game time.

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