Despite Ivan Nova Complete Game, Pirates Lose To Cardinals

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost game one of their three game series in St. Louis on Monday night

After sweeping the Chicago Cubs over the weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates got off on a bad foot in game one of their three game series in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals were coming off being swept by the New York Yankees over the weekend, which gave them the worst record in the National League.

Thanks to a great pitching performance by Lance Lynn, the last place Cardinals were able to bounce back to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 2-1. With the loss, the Pirates are now 6-7 this season.

Both Lance Lynn and Ivan Nova turned in excellent starting performances on Monday night. Lance Lynn pitched 7 innings of 3 hit shutout ball. This was by far his best start of the 2017 season.

As for Ivan Nova, he went a season-high 8 innings 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 strikeouts. In 20 innings pitched this season, Nova still has not walked a batter. This was Nova’s first complete game of the season and fourth in 14 starts as a Pirate.

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The St. Louis Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Second baseman Kolten Wong hit a home run to lead off the inning to make it 1-0 St. Louis. This was Wong’s 29th career home run and the 7th of which that came against the Pirates. Despite being a very poor hitter (lifetime wRC+ of 86) Kolten Wong continues to be a Pirate killer.

The Pirate offense did not threaten very often on Monday night. In the top of the 4th inning Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, and sixth time this season, after a two-out double by Francisco Cervelli. However, Jordy Mercer flew out to right field to end the inning.

Josh Bell collected a two-out base knock in the top of the 6th inning. After this, Francisco Cervelli lined a ball to left field that seemed ticketed to get over Randal Grichuk‘s head for a game-tying double. Grichuk, however, made an excellent running catch capped off with him leaping up to catch the ball.

In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Cardinals added to their lead. Stephen Piscotty singled to start the inning but was thrown out by Starling Marte when he tried to turn it into a double. This was followed by a Randal Grichuk single. Grichuk then stole second base and was able to go to third base when Francisco Cervelli’s throw was not fielded by Josh Harrison and skipped into center field.

Jose Martinez followed with a bloop RBI single to make it 2-0 Cardinals.

Trevor Rosenthal pitched the 8th inning for the Cardinals and retired the Pirates in order. In the 9th inning, Mike Matheny turned to closer Seung-Hwan Oh.

With one out, Josh Bell recorded his second hit of the game. Gregory Polanco then hit a two-out pinch-hit double to score Bell and cut the Cardinal lead to 2-1. John Jaso would ground out to second base to end the game.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates lost this game for one reason and one reason only, lack of offense. It is very difficult to win a baseball game when you only score one run. Even though the Cardinals defeated the Pirates on Monday night, the Cardinals still have the worst record in the National League.

Game two of this three game series is scheduled for 8:05 PM tomorrow. Chad Kuhl will start for the Pirates, while the Cardinals go with Mike Leake. Hopefully, the Pirate offense will muster a better effort tomorrow night.