The Pittsburgh Pirates failed to complete the sweep at PNC Park this afternoon, falling to the St. Louis Cardinals by a 6-4 score.
Luis Ortiz was hit hard today for Pittsburgh, giving up five runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings. It turned into a bullpen-type of game quickly for the Bucs, who battled their way through a game in which they played from behind the entirety of the game. Zack Thompson started for St. Louis, giving up two runs on six hits in five innings.
The Cardinals scored three runs in the first inning to take control of the game early. A single by Paul Goldschmidt scored Alec Burleson and Richie Palacios doubled home two runs to make it 3-0 before the Pirates could even come to bat.
Nolan Arenado cracked a double, his 24th of the season, in the top of second inning to score two more runs, making it 5-0. It looked as though St. Louis may run away with this game.
But the Pirates, as they have done many times this year, battled back to make things interesting. After scoring a run in the third inning when Connor Joe was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to get on the board, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a solo homerun, his 9th of the season, in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 5-2. Jason Delay grounded out with the bases loaded in the sixth to score the team’s third run of the game.
Unfortunately, however, in the sixth and seventh inning, the Pirates had multiple runners on base with chances to tie the game or even take the lead, but couldn’t come through with that one clutch hit. That, too, has been a common theme for much of this season. Today, it cost them the game. St. Louis added a run in the top of the ninth for some insurance. Pittsburgh did make it interesting at the end. Joe doubled home a run in the ninth to cut the lead to 6-4. But with a runner on second and two outs, Joshua Palacios grounded out to end the game.
This was a disappointing way to end the series. Yes, they were able to win the series against a divisional opponent. However, they had plenty of opportunities to take the lead in this game, and it would have been huge to sweep the series…even against a struggling team like the Cardinals.
The Pirates will continue their home stand when they open up a four game series against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday evening at PNC Park. Justin Steele will be on the mound for Chicago, sporting a 14-3 record with a 2.80 ERA on the season. Pittsburgh has yet to announce a starter.
Record vs. Cardinals: 7-3
Record vs. N.L. Central: 16-20
Record at Home: 31-33
Overall Record: 57-70
Let’s Go Bucs!