ST. LOUIS — St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn didn’t sugar-coat his thoughts about Thursday night’s performance.
"It was terrible, plain and simple," Lynn said. "You give up seven runs and don’t get out of the first inning, that’s a poor effort and that’s what it was and next time I’ve got to be better and I will be."
In his worst start as a pro, Lynn was pulled with two outs in the first inning and gave up seven runs as the St. Louis Cardinals fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-5.
"Just one of those days that you want to forget about as quick as possible and get back out there," manager Mike Matheny said. "It’s not something we normally see from Lance, doubt we will. Those happen from time to time. You just got to let them go."
Lynn made 41 pitches as eight of the 10 batters he faced reached, but only three of the seven runs were earned. A Matt Carpenter throwing error led to a couple of runs and Jason Heyward lost a lazy flyball in the sun, allowing the Pirates to pile on.
Lynn wasn’t in the mood for excuses.
"A lot of balls in the middle, a lot of balls behind in counts and they are a good-hitting team and they made me pay," Lynn said. "Tonight I just didn’t make pitches and never gave myself a chance."
Pedro Alvarez blasted a two-run homer against Lynn to help the Pirates break an eight-game losing streak at Busch Stadium. The Pirates moved within six games of the Cardinals with their 12th victory in the last 18 games.
St. Louis, which won the first two games in the series, has won the last seven sets between the teams in St. Louis.
Alvarez and Neil Walker each had three hits as the Pirates held on after a huge first inning. The Cardinals closed the deficit to 7-5 in the seventh.
Alvarez, who also homered in the series opener on Tuesday, has 18 home runs against St. Louis since the start of the 2010 season, the most against the Cardinals in that span. He has 57 career RBI against the Cardinals, his highest total against any major league team.
Francisco Liriano (8-6) pitched six innings and gave up three runs and six hits.
Walker had hits from each side of the plate in the lengthy first inning.
"It’s rare, but as a switch hitter, that’s what you’re supposed to do," Walker said.
Following one-run and two-run losses in the first two games of the series, the Pirates came out aggressive from the first pitch on Thursday.
"We didn’t play our best ball the first two days," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "So where do you go from there? It was really good for everybody to get involved in the offense in that first inning."
Added Walker: "We had good approaches early on. We made (Lynn) throw strikes. We were able to take advantage of some situations."
The Cardinals got a two-run single from Yadier Molina in the bottom half.
Jhonny Peralta cut the deficit to 7-4 with a run-scoring hit in the seventh off reliever Joakim Soria. Molina’s sacrifice fly brought the Cardinals to within 7-5.
Walker hit an RBI double during a three-run ninth.
Matheny was pleased with how the Cardinals battled back.
"You could feel that they believed," Matheny said. "Had enough opportunities out there and if guys just kept going about it the right way we’d be right in this thing and we were."
Pirates: OF Starling Marte did not start and is listed as day-to-day with a left hand contusion. He entered the game as a pinch runner in the ninth and played the field in the bottom of the inning. Marte injured the hand on a swing in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss. He started Wednesday’s game but was taken out in the third inning.
Pirates: LHP J.A. Happ (0-1, 8.31) will take on RHP Bartolo Colon (10-11, 4.76) in the first of a three-game series against the Mets in New York on Friday. Happ is making his second start of the season for the Pirates after being acquired from Seattle on July 31.
Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia (4-4, 1.77) kicks off a three-game home series against Miami on Friday. He will face RHP Tom Koehler (8-9. 3.75). Garcia tossed seven shutout innings in a 3-0 win on Saturday at Milwaukee.