Game Report: Pirates 7, Cardinals 6

Missed opportunities was the story of the Cardinals’ loss to the Pirates Friday night in Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals left a season-high 16 runners on base and had two runners thrown out at the plate in losing on a night when they had 15 hits and rallied from a 6-2 deficit to tie the game in the eighth inning.

The tie was short-lived, however, as the Pirates responded with a run off Jordan Hicks in the bottom of the eighth to win the opener of the three-game series.

The first hit for the Cardinals was a leadoff homer for Matt Carpenter, his eighth of the season and 23rd of his career, extending both franchise records.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals left at least one runner on base in every inning and left the bases loaded in the second, fifth and sixth innings … Carpenter’s leadoff homer was his 27th homer of the season. He also doubled and was intentionally walked twice, the first time an opponent has walked the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter intentionally twice in a game since Ray Lankford did it on April 25, 1992 … Carpenter has now reached base in 22 consecutive games … Yairo Munoz had three hits and drove in a run, while Jedd Gyorko had a pair of RBIs… Tyler O’Neill also had three hits but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a ground ball in the eighth … Carpenter also was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a single to right in the seventh.

On the mound: John Gant allowed the first six Pirates runs, three in the first and three in the third. He pitched four innings, giving up eight hits, before John Brebbia pitched two scoreless innings and Tyler Webb one as the Cardinals rallied to the game … Hicks could not hold the tie, however, as he gave up an infield single and walk with one out before Adam Frazier drove in the go-ahead run with his third hit of the game.

Key stat:
The Cardinals were a combined 0-of-5 with the bases loaded and produced only one run in those at-bats, when Jose Martinez grounded out in the fifth inning. In the second inning, both Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong struck out with the bases loaded and in the other at-bats Molina grounded out in the fifth and Munoz grounded out in the sixth.

Worth noting: Dexter Fowler broke his left foot while running the bases in the seventh and is headed for the disabled list. It was not immediately clear how he was injured but it forced the Cardinals to bring in Francisco Pena to catch and move Molina to first base, leaving them with no position players on the bench … Kolten Wong is expected to be activated from the disabled list before Saturday night’s game … The Cardinals announced that Tyler Lyons, designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple A Memphis. Greg Holland, also designated for assignment, also cleared waivers and was released … Nolan Gorman, the team’s top pick in this year’s draft, hit his 10th homer for Johnson City on Friday night … Griffin Roberts, the team’s second pick in the draft, made his professional debut for the GCL Cardinals on Friday and allowed two hits and walked two in 1 1/3 innings.

Looking ahead: Austin Gomber will make his second major-league start on Saturday night as he moves into Carlos Martinez’s spot in the rotation. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his first start last month in Cincinnati.