The powerful St. Louis offense got back on track Thursday night as the Cardinals shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-0 in the final game of their five-game series at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh did win the series 4-1 this week and are still 7-3 against St. Louis this season. With a record of 65-43, Clint Hurdle’s crew is 1 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Cards and 5 1/2 games ahead of the third-place Reds in the National League Central.
The Cardinals’ Joe Kelly improved his record to 2-3 as he scattered three hits over six innings of work. The righthander issued four walks and four strikeouts on 102 pitches. Righthanders Seth Maness, Michael Blazek, and Edward Mujica each pitched one inning out of the bullpen to finish the shutout.
St. Louis got on the scoreboard in the top of the second when a two-out wild pitch from the Bucs’ Charlie Morton allowed Jon Jay to come home.
In the top of the fourth, with the bases loaded and nobody out, Jon Jay was hit by a pitch which scored Allen Craig from third base. Tony Cruz’s double play groundout from third to first scored Matt Holliday. Pete Kozma’s single to center field scored Jon Jay to give the Cards a 4-0 lead.
The Cardinals got another run in the top of the sixth when with two out Carlos Beltran doubled to left-center field, scoring Joe Kelly.
St. Louis opened an all-out assault on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh, scoring eight runs to give them a 13-0 lead. Cruz had three hits in the game while Beltran, Craig, Holliday, and David Freese each had two of the Cards’ 17 hits. The Cardinals (63-44) snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Pittsburgh’s Morton and Jeanmar Gomez didn’t have an answer on the mound Thursday night. Morton saw his record fall to 3-3 as he gave up five earned runs on 10 hits over six innings. The righthander gave up only one walk to go along with five strikeouts on 104 pitches.
Gomez only lasted one third of an inning in the seventh as he gave up seven runs, five of them earned, on just four hits and 32 pitches. Vic Black gave up one run as he finished out the game on the hill for the Bucs.
With Thursday night’s attendance of 31,999, the five-game series set a PNC Park record of 129,623, breaking the old mark set from Aug. 15-18, 2008, in a series against the New York Mets.
Pittsburgh is hosting Colorado for a three-game series beginning at 7:05 p.m. on Friday. It is the first meeting of the season between the two clubs. The Rockies (51-58) will send righthander Jhoulys Chacin (9-5, 3.54 ERA) to the hill while the Pirates will go with righthander Gerrit Cole (5-4, 3.56).
The 22-year-old rookie will be making his 10th start of the season on Friday; he has surrendered just four home runs in his first nine starts. The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: With a 14-12 record in July, the Bucs have posted four consecutive winning months to start a season for the first time since 1991 and it is just the 15th time in club history…Pittsburgh has out-homered its opponent 42 to 23 at PNC Park this season…With 21 doubles, nine triples, and 10 home runs, Starling Marte is just one triple shy of becoming the first Pittsburgh player since Jack Wilson in 2004 to collect at least 10 doubles, triples, and homers in the same season…The Pirates are 5-2 against the Cardinals this season at PNC Park.