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Pirates Win Inaugural MLB Little League Classic, Split Series With Cardinals

It was a special night in Williamsport, PA tonight, as the first MLB Little League Classic took place, celebrating the unification of Little League Baseball and Major League Baseball.  And while it was an exciting night, there was also a very important game to play, as the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals were playing the final of their four game weekend series.

Tonight, the Pirates jumped off to a fast start in the first inning and went on to beat the Cardinals 6-3, earning a series split against their N.L. Central division rivals.

Ivan Nova started for Pittsburgh tonight, and while he was hit hard at times, battled his way through 5.2 innings of work, giving up three runs on eight hits.  Mike Leake struggled mightily tonight, giving up six runs on eight hits in three innings of work.

The Pirates got out to an early lead on Leake and the Cardinals in the first inning.  Andrew McCutchen’s groundout scored Starling Marte from third for the game’s first run.  Josh Bell followed with a two run homerun, his 21st of the season, to right center field to make it 3-0.

A two run homerun by Jedd Gyorko in the second inning cut the lead to 3-2, but the Pirates loaded the bases in the bottom of the third inning with no outs for Bell.  The Bucs’ first baseman delivered a two run single to right field, scoring Marte and Josh Harrison to make it 5-2.  Later in the inning, Adam Frazier’s single to center field scored McCutchen to increase the lead to 6-2.

The Cardinals set the table in the fourth inning, putting runners on second and third with no outs.  But Nova worked some magic, striking out two and inducing a ground out to escape the inning unscathed.

Nova couldn’t escape damage in the sixth, however.  Kolten Wong’s RBI single scored Yadier Molina, who led off with a double.  That marked the end of Nova’s night, but the Pirates held a 6-3 lead after six innings.

The bullpen for the Bucs held the Cards in check in the latter innings, as they would go on to win the game 6-3.  This not only was a special night due to the circumstances in Williamsport, but it was also a huge victory for this Pirates team.  After losing six straight games, they have responded with two straight wins, earning a series split with the Cardinals.  The Bucs still sit 6.5 games back in the division, but they are playing better baseball the past couple days, and they’ll need to continue playing well as they welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to PNC Park for four games this week, beginning tomorrow night at 7:05pm.

Record vs. Cardinals: 6-7

Record vs. N.L. Central: 23-25

Record at Home: 34-28

Overall Record: 60-64

 

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor