The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a habit of cashing in on opportunities late in games, but that wasn’t the case during Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Bucs (42-36) had the tying run in scoring position in each of the seventh and eighth innings without needing a hit to tie the game, but for a change the Pirates didn’t get the job done in a tight situation.
Despite the loss, the Bucs accomplished what they needed to, taking 2-of-3 from the Cardinals (41-38) and coming home after a 4-3 road trip.
Pirates starter Erik Bedard didn’t pitch well. Bedard couldn’t get through the fifth inning, even after a Michael McKenry 3-run blast gave him a 4-3 lead. A Matt Holliday RBI double and a Shane Robinson RBI single gave the Cards a 5-4 lead in the fifth and would be the end of Bedard’s day.
But the story of the Pirates day was missed opportunities.
The Bucs pounded out 12 hits on the day, but couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it.
In the second inning, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez opened the inning with singles, but were stranded. Then in the third, Alex Presley hit a one-out triple but Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones left him stranded on third base.
Then in the sixth the Bucs had men on first and second with one out but came up empty. The trend continued in the eighth when the Pirates had runners on second and third with one out, but both McKenry and Josh Harrison popped out to end the inning.
After Bedard spotted the Cardinals a 3-0 lead in the first three innings, two coming on Pirates-killer Allen Craig’s 2-run bomb, the Bucs scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning.
Clint Barmes singled in Walker to make it a 3-1 game and then McKenry put the Bucs up 4-3 with a bomb to left field.
That would be it for the scoring though as the Pirates failed repeatedly with runners in scoring position.
Presley, Walker, Alvarez, Barmes and Drew Sutton each had two-hit games for the Pirates.
Andrew McCutchen and Rod Barajas were held out of the lineup and Alvarez left in the eighth inning with what looked to be cramps.
Winning Pitcher: Jake Westbrook (7-6)
Losing Pitcher: Bedard (4-9)
Save: Jason Motte (17)
MVP: Cardinals Bullpen (Mark Rzepczynski, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte), 3 IP, 3H, 0R, 2K
LVP: Garrett Jones, 0-5, 3K’s, 2 LOB
Home Runs: Craig (11), Yadier Molina (13), McKenry (6)
Up Next: Monday, July 2 vs. Houston Astros at 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starters: Jordan Lyles (2-4, 4.59 ERA) vs. James McDonald (7-3, 2.44)