Pittsburgh Pirates hand St. Louis Cardinals first series loss of year, win 4-3


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The Pittsburgh Pirates won the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 Sunday afternoon, handing the Cardinals their first series loss of the season. Jeff Locke started for the Pirates and gave up three runs over six and two-thirds innings of work. Relievers Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon combined to pitch two and a third innings of no-run ball to secure a Pirates’ victory.

Tyler Lyons opposed Locke on the mound for the Cardinals and gave up three runs (two earned) over five innings, while the Pirates managed to get their fourth run off of reliever Mitch Harris, which was the first run Harris has given up all season. Jared Hughes got the win for the Bucs, while Melancon earned his seventh save of the year.

Jung Ho Kang, who started at third base for the Pirates, opened the scoring with a solo home run to left field in the first inning. That Pirate lead held until the fourth inning when Kolten Wong, notorious for the production he has against the Pirates, hit a two-run home run to right, knotting the score at two. The game-winning run be scored in the seventh when Kang singled to bring in Steve Lombardozzi, who got on base via a walk. Melancon would give up two hits in the ninth but would eventually shut the door, locking down a Pirate victory.

What Stood Out

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The Pirate offense delivered again in possibly the most important series of the year to date for Pittsburgh. Jung Ho Kang had two more hits on the day, both adding to the score, while Andrew McCutchen increased his average to .223 as he looks to improve on a forgettable month of April. Josh Harrison‘s average continues to plummet, as it now sits at .173. Sean Rodriguez also added two hits, improving his average on the year to .406 in 32 at-bats.

Mark Melancon tossed his eighth consecutive scoreless outing and notched his second consecutive save as he looks to improve on a rough start to his season. Starling Marte returned to the lineup Sunday afternoon after he was removed from Saturday’s game due to dizziness.

The Pirate offense as a whole was 3-9 with runners in scoring position and the lineup added three walks on the day. Considering how little the team walked during its five-game losing streak, this is an encouraging sign.

What’s Next

The Pittsburgh Pirates (15-16) travel to Philadelphia to face the Phillies (11-21) Monday night. Gerrit Cole (4-1, 2.27 ERA) takes the mound for the Buccos as he hopes to recover from his first loss of the season. The Phillies will send out Jerome Williams (2-2, 5.18 ERA) to face Cole in the teams’ first meeting of the year. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM at Citizens Bank Park.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates come from behind, beat St. Louis Cardinals 7-5