Pirates beat Cardinals 4-2 despite quality start from Martinez

Carlos Martinez gave up three runs over a strong seven innings on Monday, but he still ended up taking the loss.

Jeff Curry/Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — Gregory Polanco homered twice and Jonathon Niese turned in his best start in almost a month to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

John Jaso also drove in a run for Pittsburgh, which has won five in a row, all on the road. St. Louis had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Polanco’s two-run homer in the sixth off Carlos Martinez (7-6) put the Pirates up 2-1, and they never relinquished the lead. He added a solo shot in the eighth for the first two-homer game of his career.

Niese (7-6), who had given up at least four earned runs in each of his previous four starts, allowed just one run on seven hits over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. Niese gave up eight earned runs in an 8-3 loss to St. Louis at home on June 12.

Relievers Arquimedes Caminero, Juan Nicasio and Neftali Feliz combined to allow one run over the final 3 1-3 innings. Feliz picked up his first save of the season despite giving up a run-scoring double to Matt Carpenter in the ninth. Feliz retired Matt Holliday with two runners on to end the game.

Jaso pushed the lead to 3-1 with a run-scoring hit in the seventh off Martinez, who gave up three runs on nine hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

Carpenter gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the fifth. He also doubled in a run in the ninth.

Polanco, who leads the team with 50 RBI, has been slowed by a left hamstring strain. He played the previous six games as a designated hitter during the nine-game road trip.

Pittsburgh, which has won eight of 10, recorded its fourth successive come-from-behind win.


Pirates: C Chris Stewart was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left knee discomfort. C Eric Fryer, claimed on waivers from St. Louis on Sunday, was activated for Monday’s game. RHP Rob Scahill was designated for assignment.

Cardinals: OF Tommy Pham was scratched from the starting lineup minutes before the game with right shoulder stiffness. LHP Kevin Siegrist remains on the 15-day disabled list due to mononucleosis. He is expected to be out until after the All-Star break.


RHP Mike Leake (5-6, 4.13) will take on LHP Steven Brault, who will be making his major-league debut, in the second game of the four-game series on Tuesday night. Leake has won eight of his last nine decisions against the Pirates. RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.86) was expected to make the start Tuesday, but was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder fatigue after Monday’s game. Taillon was selected as the second overall pick in the 2010 draft.