The Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2) used RBI doubles by Neil Walker and Tony Sanchez on Sunday to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 in the rubber game of a three-game series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The double by Sanchez, the Pittsburgh catcher’s second game-winning hit of the young season, broke a 1-1 tie and made a winner of reliever Tony Watson, who retired all four batters he faced – three by strikeouts. Edinson Volquez had made his first start for the Pirates, and worked five-and-two-thirds innings, allowing only one run and three hits while striking out four batters and walking just one. Jason Grilli earned his first save of the season.
On Saturday night, the Pirates managed only six hits in a 6-1 loss to the Cards. Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina both homered for St. Louis. Russell Martin drove home the Bucs’ sole run as the Cardinals’ Joe Kelly (1-0) defeated Francisco Liraiano (0-1). Liriano allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings.
Pittsburgh opened the series on Friday night by blasting 16 hits in a 12-2 victory. Pedro Alvarez hit his first two homers of the year, and Travis Ishikawa slammed his first round-tripper since the 2012 season. Starling Marte recorded three hits, while Alvarez, Martin and Andrew McCutchen all finished with two. Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer for St. Louis.
Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole (1-0) surrendered two runs and six hits over seven innings to earn the win over Shelby Miller (0-1).
Following an off-day on Monday, the Pirates will begin their first road trip of the season on Tuesday night, taking on the Chicago Cubs (2-4) at Wrigley Field in Chicago.