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Pirates, Locke Clamp Down on St. Louis Cardinals

Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke threw seven and a third innings, allowing one run en route to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in a matinee contest Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park. Adam Wainwright, (15-9), took the loss after giving up three earned runs in his six inning stint.

In the bottom of the second inning, Wainwright hit Russell Martin with a pitch. Ike Davis strode to the plate and hit the first pitch, a cutter down and in, over the boards in right-center field for 2-0 lead. It was Davis’s 10th homer of the season.

Matt Holliday cut the lead in half with his 13th home run of 2014, a line shot to left-center. Holliday hit the first pitch of his at-bat as well, a slider that hung out over the plate.

Wainwright immediately got in trouble in the bottom of the third when the pitcher Locke singled, Josh Harrison singled, and Travis Snider put a perfect bunt down the first base line. Wainwright retrieved the ball while running outside the base line, and had no play. The bases were loaded with nobody out and Andrew McCutchen coming to the plate. McCutchen promptly lifted a fly ball to deep center, where Jon Jay caught it, scoring Locke from third. Wainwright struck out Neil Walker and Martin to get out of the inning. (Snider appeared to injure his hamstring running to first, and had to be replaced by Jose Tabata).

The Cardinals had a chance in the fifth inning when Randal Grichuk smashed a ball down the third base line with Daniel Descalso on third with two outs, but Harrison made a great diving play and strong throw to first to end the threat. Descalso had singled to lead off the frame.

Again, Wainwright found himself in a bases-loaded situation, this time with two outs. Harrison and Walker sandwiched singles around outs. Russell Martin reached when his swinging bunt caught third baseman Matt Carpenter playing deep. During the sequence to the next hitter Davis, Tony Cruz and Wainwright debated what to do near the mound. It appeared they wanted to work up and away to Davis, but were considering whether to take one shot at going inside. That’s what they did on the next pitch, a curve down and in, which Davis lined toward right field. Descalso jumped in front of it to make the grab.

Peter Bourjos batted for Wainwright in the seventh with two outs and grounded out to end the inning. Carlos Martinez relieved, and got into a first-and-third, two-out jam. Martin stole second on a delayed steal. Davis flied out to Holliday in left.

In the eighth, Carpenter walked. Grichuk flew out to center. With Holliday coming to the plate, manager Clint Hurdle opted to go to left-hander Tony Watson. St. Louis Cardinals’ broadcasters theorized that Hurdle had no good right-handed option, but it seemed to be a lack of fear of Holliday, since he hits .278 against lefties and .260 versus righties. Holliday struck out looking. Matt Adams followed by grounding out softly.

Daniel Descalso made a tremendous play in the Pirates’ eighth when, with a man on first, pinch hitter Gaby Sanchez bounced to second. Descalso charged in, tagged out Jordy Mercer running, tumbled over him and flipped underhanded to Adams to get the second out.

Mark Melancon recorded his 24th save of the season when he got Descalso to fly out to Starling Marte to end the game.

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