Game Report: Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals’ path to winning consecutive games for the first time this season got a little scary at the end of the trail on Tuesday night.

The Pirates loaded the bases against Seung Hwan Oh with one out in the ninth, thanks in part to an overturned call at first base, before he was able to get the final two outs and earn his second save in as many nights.

Both of the wins over the Pirates at Busch Stadium came with just enough offense to support a solid performance from their starting pitcher, in this case Mike Leake.

It is the first time the Cardinals have won consecutive games by scores of 2-1 since they did it on May 1-2, 2015, also against the Pirates.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: For only the second time this season, Dexter Fowler led off the first with a hit, this time the Cardinals’ first triple of the season, and he scored on a groundout by Stephen Piscotty … The Cardinals added their second run in the fifth. Jose Martinez led off with a single and scored from first on a double by Greg Garcia, who was out trying to stretch the hit into a triple … The only other hit by the Cardinals was a bunt single by Kolten Wong in the seventh … The Cardinals won both games despite having only four at-bats combined with a runner in scoring position.

On the mound: Leake continued his early-season success by allowing just one run in 6 1/3 innings. He has now given up two runs in his first 21 1/3 innings, an ERA of 0.84. The run scored in the sixth when Adam Frazier reached on an infield single and came around to score when Andrew McCutchen doubled off Garcia’s glove at third. Leake scattered seven hits, struck out only one and did not walk a batter … Brett Cecil relieved with two runners on in the seventh and got an inning-ending double play … Matt Bowman pitched a scoreless eighth, extending his scoreless streak to 17 1/3 innings dating back to last September … Oh gave up three hits in the ninth, one an infield hit which was originally called an out on the field but overturned after a Pirates challenge. With the bases loaded, he got Phil Gosselin to tap back to the mound for a force at the plate before Adam Frazier flied to left to end the game.

Key stat:
Aledmys Diaz was 0-for-4, extending his streak without a hit to 18 consecutive at-bats. That’s the longest drought of his career, breaking an 0-for-16 mark he had during his rookie season in 2016.

Worth noting: Matt Carpenter said his swollen finger felt better on Tuesday and that he expects to be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game … Tyler Lyons returned to the Cardinals after his third rehab start and said he was pleased with his progress as he recovers from last year’s knee surgery. If he makes one more rehab start the Cardinals will likely have to make a decision about adding him to the roster some time next week … Fowler is now 2-of-13 in the first inning this season, plus a walk. Each time he has gotten a hit in the inning he has scored a run. He has as many hits, eight, as he has runs scored this season. Interestingly, Fowler and Diaz have both had hits in the same inning only once this season, in the season-opening game.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will close out the series and the short homestand with a 12:45 p.m. game on Wednesday. Michael Wacha will pitch against Gerrit Cole. The Cardinals then head to Milwaukee for four games before returning home next week.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

Post-game audio: Mike Matheny 4-18-17