Game Report: Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

The Cardinals have done a lot of things differently of late, and they did that again on Sunday – winning a game despite only scoring two runs.

The win at Pittsburgh was only the second for the Cardinals this season when they scored two runs and broke a 22-game losing streak when they scored two or fewer runs.

Their only win this season in their first 31 such games came on May 10 in San Diego, a 2-1 win over the Padres.

On Sunday the Cardinals got six shutout innings from Jack Flaherty and another homer from Matt Carpenter, his career-best 29th of the season, to win their third consecutive series – the first time they have done that this season – winning two of three against the Cubs, three of four against the Rockies and two of three at Pittsburgh.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals scored both of their runs in the fifth inning, including Carpenter’s home run, which moved him on top in the National League, one ahead of Colorado’s Nolan Arenado. The home run also made Carpenter the first Cardinals player to homer in all three games of a series in Pittsburgh since Ryan Ludwick in 2008 … Yadier Molina and Jose Martinez, starting in right field, following with singles before Jedd Gyorko’s one-out single scored Molina … Gyorko now has nine RBIs in eight games this season in Pittsburgh … It was the first win for the Cardinals in Pittsburgh when scoring two runs since a 2-1 win on Sept. 5. 2009, breaking a 26-game losing streak in such games. All-time at PNC Park, since 2001, they are now 4-39 when scoring two or fewer runs.

On the mound: Flaherty earned only his second win since June 11, allowing just three hits, one walk and a hit batter while striking out seven over his six innings. He lowered his ERA for the season to 3.27, stranding runners on third base in both the third and fifth innings … Chasen Shreve gave up a home run to Adam Frazier in the seventh but Jordan Hicks stranded two runners when he came in to get the final out of the inning. He also worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Bud Norris retired the Pirates in order in the ninth, striking out two, for his 21st save.

Key stat: The Cardinals stranded nine runners on Sunday and even though they won two of the three games in Pittsburgh, they left a combined 37 runners on base in the series. It’s the most runners they have left on base in a three-game series since 2010 when they stranded 38 against the Mets, but that series included a 20-inning game when the Cardinals left 22 runners on base.

Worth noting: The Cardinals claimed right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross off waivers from San Diego on Sunday. He is expected to join the team on Monday but there will have to be a roster move before he can be activated … Tyler O’Neill missed his second game in a row because of a groin strain and the Cardinals are concerned he might have to go on the disabled list … Pitching prospect Ryan Helsley, who has been on the Memphis disabled list since early June because of “shoulder fatigue” is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals and if he can return to form could be a candidate for a September callup.

Looking ahead: The road trip continues on Monday night with the first of three games in Miami. Luke Weaver is the scheduled starter.