St. Louis Cardinals Recap: Pirates even series with 5-2 win


Final. 2. 33. 5. 4

After a big win in the opener, the St. Louis Cardinals dropped Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 5-2 final, evening the pivotal series at one game apiece.

Pirates second baseman Neil Walker went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run to lead the Bucs’ offense, spelling doom for the Cardinals – a team that has seen its lead in the National League diminish during the month of June.

Pittsburgh now trails the Cardinals in the National League Central by 4 1/2 games, after initially trailing St. Louis by more than 10 games. On Friday, the Pirates were led by Walker at the dish and the exploits of  ace right-hander Gerrit Cole on the hill.

Cole (13-3, 2.30), who is a front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award this year, was lights-out, allowing just two earned on six hits, striking out three. The right-hander leads all of Major League Baseball in wins this season.

The game-winning hit came in the bottom of the third when Pedro Alvarez singled to center against St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, scoring Jung-ho Kang to give Pittsburgh (51-35) a 3-2 advantage.

A two-run shot off the bat of Walker in the fourth pushed the Pirates’ advantage to 5-2; his blast would mark the last runs of the contest, as pitching would dominate the later innings.

Left-handed set-up man Tony Watson turned in a perfect eighth, while Mark Melancon nailed down the ninth for his league-leading 29th save of the season.

On the other side of things, Carlos Villanueva and Miguel Socolovich turned in a total of four innings of one-run ball for St. Louis (56-31) in relief of starter Lance Lynn.

Lynn (6-5, 2.90) allowed five earned runs in just four innings pitched – one of his worst starts of the season. He struck out five, but allowed nine hits in the loss.

Matt Carpenter accounted for the only St. Louis Cardinals offense, hitting a two-run home run off Cole in the top of the third – his ninth long-ball of the year.

Next: Cardinals' Martinez wins NL Final Vote for All-Star Game