The Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense did a 180 from Friday night’s action and came out stale in a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. The Pirates fell to 6.5 games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, and will look to regain a game in the standings on Sunday night in the series finale. The Pirate offense only had six hits in the game, even though Charlie Morton had a decent outing. The Pirates need every game down the stretch here, especially those against the Cardinals, and Sunday night’s game is of utmost importance. The Pirates don’t want to fall 7.5 games back.
Luck seemed to be against the Pirates from the start. In the second inning, rookie Stephen Piscotty hit a grounder up the middle, which took an odd hop. Josh Harrison made a great play to snag the ball out of the air, but his throw to first took an odd bounce off the ground, and Michael Morse couldn’t field it. Kolten Wong would score on the hit, and Jon Jay would score on what would be ruled a throwing error by Harrison, giving the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead.
Morton would last six innings, allowing just those two runs, only one of which would go in the books as an earned run. Unfortunately, Jaime Garcia would pitch even better. Garcia lasted seven innings, not allowing a single run and striking out nine in the process. Garcia’s ERA would drop to 1.89 after the contest.
After Morton left the game, Arquimedes Caminero would come in for the seventh, and would allow a Matt Carpenter two-run home run, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead, which would hold until the ninth inning. Pedro Alvarez would single in Neil Walker, helping the Pirates avoid the shutout, but the Cardinals would still hold on for the win by a final score of 4-1.
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What Stood Out
After a nine-run outburst on Friday night, the Pirate offense took a nosedive and only plated one run in the final inning of the second game. Jaime Garcia is having a great year, but the Pirates could have really used a win.
Charlie Morton had a good outing, but it wasn’t enough. The Pirates have to capitalize on good outings from him and Jeff Locke, as they tend to be few and far between. And with Gerrit Cole slumping, and Francisco Liriano having some rough outings lately, good starts from Pirate starters as a whole are becoming few and far between. The return of A.J. Burnett to the rotation will be very important to this team moving forward.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (80-54) will take the field against the St. Louis Cardinals (87-48) on Sunday Night Baseball in the final game of the three-game series. Gerrit Cole (15-8, 2.64 ERA) hopes to rebound from a few recent bad starts as he gets set to face off against John Lackey (11-8, 2.87 ERA), another starter who is having a great year for the Cardinals. First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 PM.