The Pittsburgh Pirates embarked on a seven-game road trip Thursday night, with the first four games against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. St. Louis is always a challenging place to play, but Pittsburgh got off on the right foot with a 5-0 victory. A pair of home runs, and a great night of pitching, led the way.
The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning when Carlos Santana hit a double to left center to score Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen would then bring in another run in the seventh with a sac fly that scored Ji Hwan Bae. The eighth inning saw a pair of solo home runs from Connor Joe and Rodolfo Castro increase the Pirates lead to four. The final run of the night came in the ninth when Ke’Bryan Hayes scored on a wild pitch by Chris Stratton.
After a rough previous outing, Vince Velasquez earned his first win of the season tonight. He would pitch six innings, giving up just three hits to go along with two walks and six strikeouts. Duane Underwood Jr. struck out two batters in the seventh. Colin Holderman gave up two hits and a walk in the eighth, but got a lineout to first with the bases loaded to get out of a jam. Dauri Moreta struck out two and allowed a hit in the ninth.
Cardinals starter Jordan Montgomery allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks over 6.1 innings. St. Louis used three pitchers out of the bullpen to cover the final 2.2 innings. They would combine to allow three runs on three hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Second baseman Brendan Donovan led the team with two hits.
This was a solid way of starting off this four-game series against the Cardinals. Division games have more meaning this year, since there are less of them to play, so wins are at an even higher premium. Johan Oviedo will face his former team on Friday night for Pittsburgh, while St. Louis will send Jake Woodford to the hill. First pitch is set for 8:15pm.
Record vs. Cardinals: 1-0
Record vs. N.L. Central: 2-2
Record on the Road: 5-2
Overall Record: 8-5
Let’s Go Bucs!