Game Report: Pirates 7, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals fell seven games under .500 with their second consecutive loss to the Pirates Saturday night at Busch Stadium, the first time they have sunk that low in nearly 10 years.

The last time the Cardinals found themselves in that position was on the next to last day of the 2007 season.

The Pirates scored six runs after the game was tied 1-1 after the first inning to drop the Cardinals’ record to 33-40. The team did not lose its 40th game last year until July 5.

With six games remaining in June, the Cardinals are 5-1 this month against the Phillies and 3-14 against their other opponents. They have lost their last five games at home.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Matt Carpenter provided the Cardinals’ only run until the ninth when he led off the first inning with his 14th homer of the season. It broke a 1-for-19 slump, but was his only hit of the game … The Cardinals had only five other hits until the ninth, one a ground-rule double by Lance Lynn which put runners on second and third with two outs in the second before Carpenter struck out to end the inning … The Cardinals did not advance another runner past first base until Jose Martinez walked and Paul DeJong singled but was out at second when he overslid the base in the ninth. After Eric Fryer walked, Stephen Piscotty delivered a two-run single.

On the mound: Lynn gave up two more homers, increasing his season total to a career-high 18. After scoring one run in the first, the Pirates increased the lead on a two-out, two-run homer by Jordy Mercer in the fourth and a solo shot by Josh Harrison in the fifth … The Pirates knocked Lynn out of the game in the sixth when they scored their final three runs on just one single, three walks and two hit batters, both by reliever John Brebbia with the bases loaded.

Key stat: Carpenter’s at-bat in the second inning was the only one in the game for the Cardinals with a runner in scoring position until they had one out in the ninth. They were 1-for-3 in the game and are just 4-for-24 with runners in scoring position in their last six games.

Worth noting: Yadier Molina missed another game because of a sore knee but it is expected he will be able to play on Sunday night … Dexter Fowler was in the lineup after sitting out two games because of a sore leg but was 0-for-4 and is now hitless in his last 11 at-bats … Both Aledmys Diaz and Piscotty did not start because of nagging injuries. Manager Mike Matheny said Diaz jammed his thumb on his last at-bat on Friday night while Piscotty is dealing with tightness in his forearm … Diaz did record a pinch-hit single in the eighth and Piscotty’s pinch-hit single in the ninth produced the Cardinals’ final two runs … Greg Garcia started at second base and was 0-for-3. He is now 1-for-29 in June, with his only hit a single against the Brewers on June 13.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will try to avoid the series sweep on Sunday night with Mike Leake getting the start. The Cardinals have not been swept at home in a series of at least three games this year. The Pirates last series sweep in St. Louis was in 1997.

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