Pirates 4, Cardinals 3
Charlie Morton faced down a Cardinals lineup that had been batting .540 against him, showing them he's no punching bag.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' right-hander won his first road game since the end of 2009 in a 47-degree chill and the offense stunned St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse with a four-run sixth inning in a 4-3 victory Monday night.
''He did everything you could have hoped he would have done,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''He pitched an outstanding game.''
In a span of four pitches, Lohse (0-1) issued his first walk all year, then allowed Neil Walker's two-run double and Andrew McCutchen's second homer to put Pittsburgh ahead 4-1.
''I made a couple of bad pitches,'' Lohse said. ''It's a tough one to take, but there's some positives.''
Joel Hanrahan got four outs to preserve a one-run lead for his third save in three chances for the Pirates, who are 3-1 on the road to start the year after going a major league-worst 17-64 away from home last season.
''It's great to get off to a start like this on the road, especially with the teams in our division,'' McCutchen said. ''To be able to do this is showing that we're growing as a team and we're getting better.''
The Cardinals were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and 2 for 16 with men on base against Morton (1-0) and four relievers. Albert Pujols was 0 for 3 with a walk and is 2 for 16 with a homer and one RBI thus far.
''I wanted him to hit it,'' Morton said. ''I wanted to throw him a good sinker and have him hit it, and he did.''
Morton was 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA last year and 0-8 with a 9.00 ERA on the road. St. Louis starters were batting a collective .540 against him entering the game, but they totaled a run on three hits in six innings and failed to take advantage of five walks.
''I can't really pinpoint one thing that's made me more successful,'' Morton said. ''I learned a lot last year from going through a lot of bad outings.''
Besides the mental aspect, Morton made a mechanical correction during spring training, lowering his arm slot a bit.
''He was hitting his spots and moving the ball around,'' Cardinals leadoff man Ryan Theriot said after going 1 for 5 with a double-play ball. ''I thought last year that record was pretty deceiving.
''He's always had really good stuff, I've thought.''
Morton won in April for the first time after entering 0-5 with a 12.57 ERA in five career starts and enjoyed his first success in St. Louis. The road victory was his first since he shut out the Cubs at Wrigley Field to end the '09 season.
The Cardinals got two hits and a walk to start the eighth against Evan Meek, including Lance Berkman's RBI single. Allen Craig's run-scoring groundout cut the deficit to one and Craig stole second, but Mike Crotta struck out David Freese and Hanrahan fanned Yadier Molina.
Lohse had a 1.88 ERA in spring training, showing he'd recovered from a forearm injury that dogged him the last season and a half, and limited the Pirates to two hits through the first five innings. Lohse, who was 4-8 with a 6.55 ERA last year, allowed four runs and six hits.
Cardinals pitchers had worked 14 consecutive scoreless innings before the sixth.
Berkman walked on a full count to open the second, went to third on Craig's perfectly placed hit-and-run single and scored on a double-play ball to put the Cardinals ahead.
Morton prevailed in a 10-pitch at-bat against Molina in the fourth, inducing a groundout with runners on second and third. Molina entered 4 for 5 against Morton.
NOTES: RHP Kyle McClellan, the Cardinals' setup man, makes his first career start after 202 relief appearances on Tuesday. McClellan was 4-0 with a 0.78 ERA in spring training. ... St. Louis LHP Jaime Garcia and Cubs SS Starlin Castro were co-NL players of the week. ... Berkman's bat sailed into the stands behind home plate and it struck a youngster, who left holding a towel over his right eye. ... The Pirates were 1-5 in St. Louis last season.