The Pittsburgh Pirates (15-10) on Sunday used four home runs to post a 9-0 victory over the Cardinals in St. Louis, win the 3-game series two- games-to-one, and take over first place in the National League Central Division.
Russell Martin homered twice, and Garrett Jones and Jose Tabata went longball once apiece. Martin and Jones both tallied three hits, Starling Marte has another 2-hit game, and Pedro Alvarez contributed a two-run single. Gaby Sanchez and John McDonald also drove home runs.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke (3-1) became the team’s first three-game winner, blanking the Cardinals on three hits through seven innings while striking out four batters and walking two. Locke has not allowed a run in his last 13 innings of work. Justin Wilson pitched two innings of hitless relief.
Shelby Miller (3-2) took the loss for St. Louis (14-10).
On Saturday, the Bucs scored four times in the seventh inning and once more in the eighth in a come-from-behind 5-3 win in St. Louis. Martin hit a two-run homer, Andrew McCutchen walked with the bases loaded, Jones drove in a run with a ground ball, and Sanchez provided a run with a sacrifice fly.
Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett (2-2; 2.83 ERA) allowed two runs and five hits over six innings with six strikeouts and three walks. Burnett earned the win when the Bucs struck for their big seventh inning. Closer Jason Grilli allowed a ninth-inning run on a Carlos Beltran RBI double, but recorded his 10th save in 10 tries.
The Cardinals started the series with a 9-1 win on Friday night. Beltran and Matt Carpenter both homered. Five St. Louis players tallied two hits apiece. Alvarez provided the only Pittsburgh run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly. Jonathan Sanchez, who was ejected from the game without retiring an opponent after hitting a batter with his seventeenth pitch, took the loss, and fell to 0-3. Sanchez was later suspended for 6 games, and is appealing the suspension. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was kicked out of the game after arguing the Sanchez ejection and later, acting manager Jay Bell was ejected for arguing why Cardinals starter Lance Lynn should not be thrown out for twice hitting Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte with pitches.
Lynn (4-0) earned the win, pitching seven innings, and giving up only one run and two hits, while striking out nine batters and walking three.
On Monday night, the Pirates will begin a three-game series against the Brewers (12-11) in Milwaukee. Wandy Rodriguez (2-0; 1.66 ERA) is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh against the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo (2-1; 4.97 ERA).