It sure seems like nothing new has happened since this season started. A day after wasting six no-hit innings by Mitch Keller, Derek Shelton and the Pirates wasted a six-shutout inning, 11-strikeout performance from Joe Musgrove. St. Louis won for the fourth time in the teams’ five-game series, 2-1.
Musgrove allowed just three hits and a walk. The closest to a rally he faced came in the third, when Dylan Carlson led off with a double. Musgrove came back to get two strikeouts and a popup. The only other runner to get past first was Paul Goldschmidt on a two-out double in the sixth. After 94 pitches, 62 strikes, Musgrove departed.
Cards’ starter Jack Flaherty, who got lit up for nine runs in his last start, dominated the Pirates just as thoroughly, also fanning 11 in six innings. The Pirates got only two hits off him. The first, a single by Jose Osuna leading off the third, was erased when J.T. Riddle botched a hit-and-run attempt. In the fourth, Bryan Reynolds led off with a double, went to third on a sacrifice by Adam Frazier and scored on a fly by Colin Moran.
Things got downright comical in Flaherty’s last two innings. Erik Gonzalez, of all people, led off the fifth with a walk, but Gregory Polanco, Osuna and Riddle all whiffed. In the sixth, John Ryan Murphy led off with another unlikely walk, but Reynolds, Frazier and Moran all whiffed.
After Musgrove left, Derek Shelton naturally went to Derek “6.86 ERA” Holland, who’s still on the team because . . . . . . just because. It took Holland exactly two batters to put the Cards ahead: a single and a Yadier Molina home run. Holland has now given up a dozen gopher balls in 40.2 IP. Just the guy to bring in with a one-run lead.
From there, things proceeded on script. Nik Turley and Richard Rodriguez each threw a scoreless inning to protect the one-run deficit. Rodriguez did walk two, but they each fanned two, giving Pirates pitchers 15 on the day.
The Pirates’ hitters meanwhile did what they do. They went down nine straight after Flaherty left. The 2-6 hitters — Frazier, Moran, Josh Bell, Gonzalez, and Polanco — combined to go 0-for-14 with ten strikeouts. The team finished with two hits. The Pirates are now 15-38, and have lost four straight and 12 of 13.