Cardinals 10, Pirates 6

The St. Louis Cardinals unleashed years of frustration against

Pittsburgh Pirates starter James McDonald with one big inning.

Led by two-run doubles from Jon Jay and Allen Craig, the

Cardinals chased McDonald with a seven-run second and then held on

for a 10-6 victory Monday night.

”That whole inning was impressive, the kind of at-bats they

were grinding out,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.

Lance Lynn (2-0) labored through five innings despite being

staked to an early 10-1 lead. He gave up four runs, walked three

and struck out four while needing 99 pitches to get 15 outs.

”I wish I could have went deeper, but when you have a 10-run

lead you’re just trying to get quick outs and not have long innings

and I wasn’t able to do that,” Lynn said. ”That was the most

frustrating part.”

Jay finished with two hits and Matt Holliday added two hits and

two RBIs as the Cardinals ended Pittsburgh’s three-game winning

streak by roughing up McDonald (1-2), who entered 4-1 with a 2.27

ERA against St. Louis.

Those numbers quickly ballooned after the second-inning

outburst.

McDonald struggled to get out of the first inning, allowing St.

Louis to grab an early 1-0 lead, an advantage that could have been

much larger if the Cardinals hadn’t run themselves into unnecessary

trouble.

The Pirates bounced back to tie it in the bottom half on a

run-scoring single by Garrett Jones, only this time McDonald was

unable to collect himself on a night when his velocity and command

seemed off. Normally his fastball hovers in the 93-94 mph range but

only one of his 46 pitches reached 92 mph, and the Cardinals

pounced.

Pete Kozma led off the second with a ground-rule double, and

things kept getting worse for the Pirates. Jay smacked a two-run

double and a rare throwing error by shortstop Clint Barmes allowed

the Cardinals to extend the inning.

St. Louis didn’t let the miscue go to waste, adding five more

runs – including a two-run double by Craig – before Pirates manager

Clint Hurdle mercifully pulled McDonald, who walked off the mound

to a chorus of boos.

”I think we really feed off each other,” Craig said. ”When

one guy has a good at-bat and hits a ball hard I think the next

guy, it boosts his confidence and it goes from there.”

Lynn didn’t exactly sparkle. Handed a huge lead after a two-run

double by Holliday off reliever Bryan Morris in the third, Lynn

seemed uncomfortable. Neil Walker hit his first homer of the season

to help get Pittsburgh within six runs, and the Pirates put two

runners on in both the fourth and the fifth but couldn’t quite

chase Lynn.

The right-hander needed 99 pitches – and a pep talk in the fifth

from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist – to get his way through 15

outs. It was a rare so-so performance by a St. Louis starter. The

Cardinals began the three-game series with the best ERA by their

starters (1.99) in baseball. St. Louis tossed 39 consecutive

shutout innings last week before losing to Milwaukee in 10 innings

on Sunday to snap a four-game winning streak.

”I’ve got to be better,” Lynn said. ”I got into a situation

where I was just trying to attack them with heaters and I got

myself into trouble and got my pitch count up.”

McDonald would have loved that problem. Instead, a pitcher who

flirted with making the All-Star team last year could be in some

serious trouble. He declined to talk about his health afterward but

Hurdle acknowledged McDonald certainly seems off.

”He just couldn’t get the ball where he wanted it, couldn’t

repeat it and it was hard,” Hurdle said. ”Too many pitches up and

over the plate to a good-hitting team.”

Pittsburgh kept trying to rally but the first-place Cardinals

managed to avoid their second losing skid of the season.

The Pirates scored two and had two on with one out in the eighth

against reliever Marc Rzepczynski, but Travis Snider meekly

grounded out to the catcher and Andrew McCutchen followed with a

chopper to third to end the threat as the Pirates couldn’t

duplicate their comeback victory over Cincinnati on Sunday, when

they spotted the Reds a 5-0 lead before rallying for a 10-7

win.

”We had the tying run on deck after being down 10-1,” Hurdle

said. ”I like the way we’re playing. The hiccups we’ve had off the

mound have been challenging but we’ve been able to handle them so

far.”

NOTES: Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano pitched three shutout

innings for Class-A Bradenton, striking out six. Liriano is

recovering from a broken right arm. … Matheny said the team will

stick with a closer-by-committee approach as it searches for

someone to take over for injured Jason Motte. … The Pirates moved

catcher Russell Martin to third base in the fifth inning, his first

appearance at third since June 2011. … Jake Westbrook (1-1, 0.00

ERA) starts for St. Louis against Jonathan Sanchez (0-2, 12.96) on

Tuesday night.