Apr 3, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) and Cubs second baseman Emilio Bonifacio (64) celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Cubs won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals Strike Early, Beat Pittsburgh Pirates To Even Weekend Series

In the second of a three-game weekend series, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 at PNC Park on Saturday nigh.

After scoring 12 runs the night before, the Pirates (3-2) just couldn’t manage to get that timely hit as they left 11 men on base.

Mar 31, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (47) delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning of an opening day baseball game at PNC Park. The Pirates won 1-0 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

However, the story was completely different for the Cardinals, as they would put four singles together in the first inning, plating three runs. Pirates starter Francisco Liriano struggled in the first inning, throwing more than 30 pitches to eight combined Cardinals batters.

After the first inning, Liriano settled down and at one point retired 13 batters in a row, allowing only two balls out of the infield. The game seemed to be turning in the Pirates favor as they were consistently getting runners on base and were even able to scratch a run across in the third inning.

But the Cardinals battery of Joe Kelly and Yadier Molina was just too much for the Buccos.

Molina hit his second home run of the season in the sixth inning, increasing the Cardinals lead to 4-1 and putting an end to Liriano’s night. Kelly, who was outpitched by Liriano in Game 3 of the 2013 National League Division Series, was the better of the two in his season debut.

Kelly earned the victory, showing the Cardinals he was a deserving choice to fill the final spot in the rotation.

BOX SCORE

With each team earning a victory in the first two games, it will be interesting to see which team will make an early-season statement by winning the rubber match on Sunday. Edinson Volquez gets his first Pirates start, opposing St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.

Tags: Francisco Liriano Pittsburgh Pirates

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