On Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals to get swept in St. Louis
Sometimes rest and time off does a baseball player well. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Ivan Nova and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon. After having his last start skipped Nova returned to the mound on Sunday afternoon and he was awful once again.
Ivan Nova’s poor start helped lead to the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 7-0 to finish off a weekend sweep of the Bucs. With the loss, the Pirates have now lost five consecutive games and they now own a 67-77 record this season.
It did not take the Cardinals long to start the scoring on Sunday afternoon.
With one out in the bottom of the first inning Kolten Wong drew a walk and Paul DeJong singled. Then with two outs Yadier Molina singled home Wong to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
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Matt Carpenter walked to start the bottom of the third inning and this began another run scoring rally for the Cardinals. After DeJong singled with one out, Molina launched a three-run home run. This made the score 4-0 Cardinals.
The St. Louis lead grew to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Randal Grichuk hit a solo home run. This was the 28th home run allowed this season by Ivan Nova putting him just four shy of the Pirate franchise record for most home runs allowed in a season.
Ivan Nova would last just five innings on Sunday. He allowed five runs on five hits, two walks, two home runs, and he struck out seven. In his last 23 starts Nova has now allowed 164 hits, 26 home runs (1.70 HR/9), and 76 earned runs in 137 2/3 innings pitched (4.97 ERA). The Pirates are just 9-14 in these starts.
Meanwhile, for the Cardinals, Michael Wacha started and was in control throughout the afternoon. In eight shutout innings Wacha allowed five hits, he did not walk a batter, and he struck out seven. Sunday afternoon was one of the most dominant outings of the season for Wacha.
Wade LeBlanc replaced Ivan Nova in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Pirate pitching woes would continue. Stephen Piscotty reached on a Jordy Mercer error with one out and then Harrison Bader hit a double. After LeBlanc intentionally walked Randal Grichuk to load the bases, Michael Wacha hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 6-0.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Cardinals would add to their lead against Angel Sanchez. With runners on the corners and one out Yadier Molina picked up his fifth RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly to make the score 7-0 Cardinals.
The bottom of the eighth inning belonged to Dovydas Neverauskas for the Pirates. Neverauskas was able to retire the Cardinals in order in what was a nice bounce back outing for the rookie after allowing a solo home run in Saturday night’s loss.
Mike Matheny gave the ball to John Gant in the top of the ninth inning. He allowed a one out double to Andrew McCutchen, but reitred the other three batters he faced to close out the game for the Cardinals.
Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates is a three-game series at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. Game one of the series is scheduled for 7:40 on Monday night. Steven Brault is scheduled to make his second start of the season for the Pirates, while the Brewers plan to roll with rookie Brandon Woodruff.