Tonight, marked the beginning of a three-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. It may just be one month into the 2021 season, but this series has two teams playing for second place in the division. Both starters were solid for their respective teams, but a key swing by a man who has made a living of tormenting Pittsburgh was enough for St. Louis to earn a 7-3 victory.
JT Brubaker was tagged with the loss, but pitched well during his five innings on the mound. He allowed three runs on seven hits to go with seven strikeouts. Two of those runs came on bloop doubles that dropped in front of new outfielder Ka’ai Tom. Those would occur in the first and third inning. The third run happened in the fourth when Tyler O’Neill blasted a 425 ft. home run over both bullpens.
Cardinals starter John Gant had control issues during his five innings of work, but was able to get out of most jams. He gave up one run on three hits, while striking out two and walking five batters. His lone run came in the fourth when Kevin Newman singled to shallow left to bring in Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds made some quality plays with the glove in center tonight and looks like a long-term fixture there for the Pirates.
Pittsburgh has had a solid bullpen this year, but Matt Carpenter has always had his way with Pirates pitching. Tonight, was no different as he hit a three run home run off of Duane Underwood Jr. in the sixth inning. David Bednar pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth, striking out three batters and allowing one hit during that time. Clay Holmes gave up an unearned run in the ninth on a fielding error by Adam Frazier.
The Pirates got their final two runs of the night in the sixth inning. The first came on a balk by St. Louis relief pitcher Tyler Webb, which allowed Gregory Polanco to score. Webb then threw a wild pitch to bring in Newman. The Cardinals bullpen used three more pitchers on the night to keep Pittsburgh in check.
While the score doesn’t look very close, St. Louis got the better of the Pirates because of a few mistakes. Tom needs time to adjust to playing the outfield at PNC Park, Carpenter always seems to have a big series against Pittsburgh, and Frazier made on odd error. After losing two straight, Pittsburgh will look to get back to winning tomorrow night in game two of this three game series.
Record vs. Cardinals: 0-1
Record vs. N.L. Central: 5-8
Record at Home: 5-5
Overall Record: 12-13
Let’s Go Bucs!