Rich Hill had another solid outing on the mound as the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a three-game series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-1 victory at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon.
The win was the fifth in a row for Pittsburgh, who continues to keep pace in the N.L. Central, just a half game behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
Hill (5-5) earned his fifth victory of the season, giving up one run on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. David Bednar tallied his 13th save of the season and third in as many days, shutting things down in the ninth inning while lowering his ERA to just 1.13 on the year.
Miles Mikolas (4-2) gave up 10 hits in five innings, but only allowed two runs to cross the plate. He certainly kept his team in the game, but his offense just couldn’t put together enough hits in the key situations to come away with a victory.
The Pirates scored their only two runs of the game in the very first inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Ji Hwan Bae singled to center field, scoring Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski. The Bucs took a 2-0 lead which turned out to be enough to secure a victory.
Andrew Knizner’s solo homerun, his fifth of the season, in the seventh inning proved to be the only run of the game for St. Louis. Hill was pulled thereafter and the bullpen did the rest of the work, holding the lead and sealing the victory for their left-handed starter as well as the rest of the ballclub.
This was a huge weekend for the Pirates. After taking two of three against the San Francisco Giants to conclude their road trip last week, it was crucial for them to build off that momentum and earn a series sweep, especially against a divisional opponent.
Up next, the Bucs will continue their homestand with a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. While their record puts them at the bottom of the league so far this season, the A’s have been playing better baseball lately, and the Pirates will need to stay focused to add another series win this week. JP Sears will take the mound for Oakland in the series’ opener on Monday against Johan Oviedo for Pittsburgh.
Record vs. Cardinals: 5-2
Record vs. N.L. Central: 10-4
Record at Home: 15-13
Overall Record: 31-27
Let’s Go Bucs!