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.
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.
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.