Pittsburgh Pirates fall for second straight night to St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1, in extras
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense failed to provide run support in another great outing by a starter yet again as the team fell 2-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals in extras for the second straight day. Pirate batters had 12 hits on the day but were 1-13 with runners in scoring position and left 18 players on base. This has become a trend for the Pirates not only for this season but over the last two seasons as well.
Francisco Liriano was one of the lone bright spots for the team as he hurled eight innings of three-hit, one-run ball on just 98 pitches. John Lackey, who opposed Liriano on the mound, pitched six innings of one-run ball, and the Cardinals threw out six relief pitchers to shut down the Pirate offense for the rest of the game.
The lone run for the Pirates came in the third inning on an RBI single from Josh Harrison, scoring Gregory Polanco from third. The Pirates left the bases loaded in the sixth and couldn’t score the rest of the way. A Jon Jay groundout scored Peter Bourjos from third to even the score at one in the sixth, and the game was won on a Matt Carpenter sacrifice fly in the eleventh when the teams went to extra innings for the second straight day.
What Stood Out
The lone star for the Pirates was once again the starting pitcher. Liriano pitched another gem, and even though he continues to walk batters (he had three on the day) as he has done for most of his career, he lowered his ERA to 1.95 on the season and became the third Pirate starter to hold an ERA under two on the year (joining Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett).
Every Pirate starter managed a hit on the day, but the problem for the team continues to be hitting with runners in scoring position. Polanco was 2-3 with a walk Saturday afternoon, raising his average to .291 on the season. Polanco holds the highest average of any starter for the Pirates, as no player is hitting .300 so far this year. Starling Marte was 3-6 on the day and is slugging .506, leading all Pirate batters.
The Cardinals continue their great start to the year, even without ace Adam Wainwright. The team is 17-6 in 2015 and holds the best record in all of baseball. Carpenter, Bourjos, and Matt Holliday are all batting over .300 on the season.
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The series finale is slated to get underway at 2:15 PM at Busch Stadium on Sunday. Vance Worley (2-2, 4.50 ERA) takes the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He opposes Michael Wacha (4-0, 2.42 ERA) of the St. Louis Cardinals, who figures to step up into the role of ace for the Cardinals with Wainwright now out for the year.