Russell Martin’s RBI single scored Neil Walker with the go-ahead run, while the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen threw five innings of scoreless baseball, and the Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals for the fourth straight time, 5-4, on Wednesday night at PNC Park in the Steel City.
The Bucs fought back from deficits of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 after starter Jeff Locke allowed four runs and ten hits over the four innings he worked. Locke did strike out six batters and walked only one. The Pirates won despite being outhit 13-10.
Vin Mazzaro, Tony Watson (3-1; 3.00 ERA) and Mark Melancon (0.88 ERA) combined on five innings of relief, allowing only three hits and four total baserunners. Watson earned the win, and Melancon recorded his fifth save.
Walker homered and singled, Pedro Alvarez drove home a run with a single, Clint Barmes doubled in a run, and Andrew McCutchen contributed a sacrifice fly. Walker, Martin, Barmes and Garrett Jones all recorded two hits.
Matt Holliday had three of the Cardinals’ hits and twice singled home runs as his team lost for the seventh consecutive time. Daniel Descalso singled home another, and Tony Cruz tallied another with a sacrifice fly. St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, the National League’s winningest pitcher with 13 victories, worked seven innings, and surrendered four runs and eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Trevor Rosenthal (1-2; 2.29 ERA) was hit with the loss.
With the win, the Pirates (65-42) moved to 23 games over the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 1992 season, and took a 2-and-a-half game lead over the Cardinals (62-44) in the NL Central Division. In attempting the rare sweep of a five-game series, Pittsburgh will send Charlie Morton (3-2; 3.59 ERA) to the mound on Thursday night against the Cards’ Joe Kelly (1-3; 3.44 ERA).