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
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
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
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
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
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
”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
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