St. Louis Cardinals drop first series with loss to Pirates
Kolten Wong drives in a pair in loss
For the first time this season, the St. Louis Cardinals came out on the wrong end of a series after falling on the road to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 4-3 final on Sunday afternoon, despite a strong spot-start from Tyler Lyons.
The deciding blow came off the bat of Jung-ho-Kang singled to left against Mitch Harris in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Steve Lombardozzi Jr – and putting the Pirates ahead for good.
St. Louis (22-9) threatened in the top of the ninth in a frame that got started with a leadoff single by Yadier Molina. After a fly-out to center, Mark Reynolds singled to put the tying run on second with just one out. Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon then did battle with Cards right-fielder Jason Hayward, who, after seeing seven pitches, went down swinging on strikes.
With the game on the line, Pete Kozma stepped in, grounding out to first, giving Pittsburgh a much-needed series win and sending the Cardinals home losers of a series for the first time in 2015.
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Pittsburgh (15-16) got things rolling early when Kang hit a solo shot, his second homer of the year, off Lyons to make it 1-0 Pirates. Three innings later, Jordy Mercer came through with a rocket to third that ate up Reynolds, scoring Starling Marte.
With Jeff Locke rolling through six, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong tied things up with a two-run shot, his fourth homer of the season. After Gregory Polanco plated a run with a sac fly in the sixth, Heyward pulled the Cards right back even with an RBI single in the top of the seventh, knotting things at 3-3.
Lyons allowed just two earned runs in five solid innings of work, but was out-dueled by the Bucs’ left-hander, Locke, who pitched into the seventh, allowing three earned on five hits. It was the back end of the bullpen for the Pirates – one that has become notorious for its skill – that kept any comeback hopes at bay as Pittsburgh picked up the win.
St. Louis will head to Cleveland to take on the Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday. Cleveland has not yet announced its starter for the opener and Lance Lynn is slated to toe the rubber for the Cardinals.
First pitch is set for 5:10 p.m. CT.