The Pirates took advantage of a shaky Dakota Hudson and jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Cardinals in the top of the first inning on Sunday. St. Louis scored four in the home half of the first and two more in the second off an even shakier Steven Brault to reach a 6-3 lead, one that Hudson locked down through the sixth inning.
Then, the seventh inning happened.
The Cardinals turned to Tyler Webb to open the seventh inning, and he started with a walk to Bryan Reynolds. Webb hit Gregory Polanco with a pitch, and then John Brebbia entered the game with two on and nobody out. Josh Bell, who highlighted the Pirates’ first inning with a two-run double, launched a three-run homer to right field to tie the game. Fast forward a few batters, and Pittsburgh has runners at first and second with two out and the pitcher’s spot due up. Adam Frazier came off the bench and delivered a two-run double to the track in center to give the Pirates a two-run, 8-6 lead.
Giovanny Gallegos opened the eighth for St. Louis and allowed a base hit to Polanco and intentionally walked Bell to get to Colin Moran. Moran spoiled that plan with a sharp double to right (Jose Martinez probably should have caught this ball — or at least made it a closer play than it was), and the Pirates scored two more runs to up their lead to 10-6, their eventual winning score.
With the loss, the Cardinals have dropped three in a row and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Cardinals and Pirates are tied for third place in the National League Central division, with the Pirates owning a slight edge in the winning-percentage column. Pittsburgh is 20-17 after taking three of four from the Cardinals, who are now 22-19. The Cardinals left 10 runners on base on Sunday; in the three losses to Pittsburgh, St. Louis stranded 26.
Looking at the positives in this game, Hudson recorded his second quality start of the year and has pitched at least five innings in his last five starts. It was nice to see Paul Goldschmidt collect a couple of hits, including his 10th home run of the year. Martinez went 3-for-5, Yairo Munoz and Jedd Gyorko each had two hits, Paul DeJong drew a pair of walks and scored as many runs, and Marcell Ozuna had his first outfield assist of 2019.
The Cardinals will be off on Monday as they travel to Georgia, where the Atlanta Braves will host a three-game series. Jack Flaherty is in line to start the series opener.