The Pittsburgh Pirates saw its chances for a sweep end Saturday afternoon with a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Charlie Morton [8-7] saw all of his damage come in a second inning at-bat against Stephen Piscotty. Piscotty singled on the play and Josh Harrison was given a throwing error. The combination of the two things allowed for two runs to score. Morton was charged with one earned run as a result of this sequence.
Jaime Garcia [8-4] was making his first start of the season against the Pirates and surrendered four hits in seven innings of work. It is his second victory in six career appearances against the Pirates. He also threw 108 pitches, which is a season-high.
Sean Rodriguez was the subject of criticism from Pirates fans as neither Neil Walker nor Gregory Polanco started in this game. Rodriguez, however, was responsible for three of the team’s four hits. He now has 11 hits in his last 16 at-bats.
The seventh inning provided the Pirates with their best scoring opportunity. Rodriguez recorded a one-out double, his ninth of the season. Two batters later with pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Rodriguez attempted to advance to third on a Garcia wild pitch. He was called safe, and the call was upheld after video replay.
Ramirez ended up walking on a full-count. Josh Harrison then grounded into a force out on a 1-2 slider to end the Pirates threat.
In the bottom half of the inning with Arquimedes Caminero on the mound, Greg Garcia worked a walk and then Matt Carpenter hit a 1-0 fastball over the left-center field wall, his 21st home run of the season. Caminero also allowed two runs in his last appearance which was September 2. Prior to that, Caminero had not allowed a run since July 25, a span of 17.1 scoreless innings.
Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth inning and allowed the lone run of the game as pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez singled in Walker who pinch-hit the at-bat prior. With two outs pinch-hitter Polanco struck out with two on, ending the game.
The three-game series concludes Sunday evening in a nationally televised contest. Gerrit Cole [15-8 2.64 ERA] will face John Lackey [11-8 2.87 ERA]. Cole is 2-3 with a 3.49 ERA in six career regular season starts against the Cardinals.
Of note: Both Ryan Palencer and John Dreker of Pirates Prospects have reported that Travis Ishikawa [low back strain] began his rehab assignment Saturday. Ishikawa is batting .203 on the season with one home run and eight RBI.
Photo credit: Jeff Roberson/AP Photo