Game Report: Cardinals 11, Pirates 10

With an 11-3 lead going to the bottom of the eighth inning Friday night, it appeared the Cardinals were well on their way to an easy victory over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

They got the victory, but there wasn’t anything easy about it.

After Carlos Martinez worked the first seven innings, the Cardinals needed five relievers to get the final six outs, giving up seven runs and the Pirates had the bases loaded in the ninth before Seung Hwan Oh finally got the final out on a strikeout of Elias Diaz.

Most of the damage was done against Mike Mayers, recalled from Memphis earlier in the day, who was charged with five runs in the eighth and retired only two of the seven batters he faced. Matt Bowman did not retire any of the three hitters he faced to begin the ninth, walking two and hitting a batter.

The Pirates nearly won the game in the ninth on a long fly ball by David Freese, but Tommy Pham was able to catch it at the center field wall.

Mayers likely will be heading back to Memphis on Saturday, with another reliever being promoted.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: For the first time since May 28, 2013, the Cardinals got home runs from the first, second and third spots in the batting order. Tommy Pham hit a solo homer in the first, Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer in the second and Paul DeJong added a solo shot in the third, his team-leading 19th of the season … DeJong added two singles and another RBI as he raised his average to .305 … With one more homer DeJong will become only the fourth rookie in franchise history with 20 or more home runs … Jedd Gyorko was the only starter without a hit, going 0-of-4 … The Cardinals scored 10 or more runs in consecutive games in Pittsburgh for the first time since July 12-13, 2008, but they lost one of those games 12-11. This was only the second time the Cardinals scored double-digit runs in consecutive games in Pittsburgh since 1980.

On the mound:
Martinez gave up another run in the first inning on a homer by Josh Harrison and also allowed a solo homer to Freese leading off the second, but allowed only one more run as he pitched through the seventh, finally getting his season record back above .500 at 10-9, despite the bullpen meltdown. He allowed six hits, walked one and struck out four.

Key stat: The Cardinals had not won a game this season when allowing seven or more runs, going 0-22, before Thursday night, when they won 11-7, and have now done it twice in a row. The last time the Cardinals won consecutive games allowing seven or more runs was on June 24-25, 2012.

Worth noting: The Cardinals said Trevor Rosenthal was seeking a second opinion after undergoing tests on his right elbow and said surgery is a possibility … For the second day in a row a pitcher went on the DL as Adam Wainwright also returned to St. Louis for tests. His injury was described as an “impingement” in his elbow and more should be known about his status on Saturday … Luke Weaver will move into his spot in the starting rotation … Kolten Wong was a late scratch from the lineup because of a sore hip. The Cardinals said he was available off the bench but he did not play … Tyler Lancaster, a catcher selected in last year’s draft who was playing at Class A State College, was suspended for 76 games on Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Looking ahead: Michael Wacha will get the start in the day game on Saturday while Chad Kuhl will start for the Pirates.