Pirates’ 4-run sixth beats Cardinals
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Delete a four-pitch sequence in the sixth inning, and it was a great debut for Kyle Lohse. Take those pitches into account, and it was a frustrating setback on the comeback trail.
Charlie Morton won his first road game since the end of 2009 in a 47-degree chill and the Pittsburgh Pirates stunned Lohse with a four-run sixth inning in a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
After issuing his first walk all year to Jose Tabata, Lohse (0-1) got the ball up for Neil Walker’s two-run double and grooved one for Andrew McCutchen’s second homer to put Pittsburgh ahead 4-1.
“I made some mistakes that cost us the game,” Lohse said. “Other than that, I did a good job of locating the ball and changing speeds. It’s a tough one to take, but there’s some positives out there.”
Joel Hanrahan got four outs to preserve a one-run lead for his third save in three chances for the Pirates, who are 3-1 on the road to start the year after going a major league-worst 17-64 away from home last season.
The Cardinals were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-16 with men on base against Morton (1-0) and four relievers. Albert Pujols was 0-for-3 with a walk and is 2-for-16 with a homer and one RBI thus far.
“We just had our hands full with Morton,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He had a lot of movement and we never could center it very well.”
Morton was 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA last year and 0-8 with a 9.00 ERA on the road. St. Louis starters were batting a collective .540 against the right-hander entering the game, but totaled a run on three hits in six innings.
Lohse is coming off a 4-8 season with a 6.55 ERA that was interrupted by forearm surgery in May.
“They’re not the same pitcher, neither one of them are,” La Russa said.
Morton won in April for the first time after entering 0-5 with a 12.57 ERA in five career starts and enjoyed his first success in St. Louis. The road victory was his first since he shut out the Cubs at Wrigley Field to end the ’09 season.
The Cardinals got two hits and a walk to start the eighth against Evan Meek, including Lance Berkman’s RBI single. Allen Craig’s run-scoring groundout cut the deficit to one and Craig stole second, but Mike Crotta struck out David Freese and Hanrahan fanned Yadier Molina.
Lohse had a 1.88 ERA in spring training, shaking off the injury that dogged him the last season and a half, and limited the Pirates to two hits through the first five innings. He allowed four runs and six hits.
Cardinals pitchers had worked 14 consecutive scoreless innings before the sixth.
Berkman walked on a full count to open the second, went to third on Craig’s perfectly placed hit-and-run single and scored on a double-play ball to put the Cardinals ahead.
Morton prevailed in a 10-pitch at-bat against Molina in the fourth, inducing a groundout with runners on second and third. Molina entered 4-for-5 against Morton.
Notes: RHP Kyle McClellan, the Cardinals’ setup man, makes his first career start after 202 relief appearances tonight. McClellan was 4-0 with a 0.78 ERA in spring training. ... St. Louis LHP Jaime Garcia and Cubs SS Starlin Castro were co-NL players of the week.
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