Carlos Martinez threw eight shutout innings as the Cards shut out the Pirates, 3-0. The loss was the Pirates’ fourth straight and gave St. Louis a three-game sweep at PNC Park.
Wil Crowe had what’s turning into a standard outing for every Pirate starter not named Brubaker or Anderson. He put the Pirates in a hole early, then came around to turn in a “solid” losing game.
All of the runs in this game scored on one swing, a three-run home run by Harrison Bader in the second inning. Crowe ended up going five innings, allowing just three hits but walking four. In yet another entry in Derek Shelton’s hefty catalogue of inexplicables, Crowe batted for himself to lead off the bottom of the fifth with the score 3-0 (he did walk), then came out at the start of the sixth.
The Pirates’ offense didn’t show up. They had five hits and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. For the second time in the series, the 3-4-5 hitters went hitless.
This series illustrated the sharp limits that the Pirates’ offense puts on the team’s chances of success. The Cards didn’t just outscore the Pirates, 22-8. They had 50% more runs just on home runs (12) than the Pirates had total runs. When your starters make a habit of coughing up multiple runs in the first inning or two, it’s too hard to come back with only singles and doubles. It’s just about impossible when, every day, two-thirds of the lineup is composed of hitters who reside somewhere along Mendoza Avenue.
Once Crowe was out, the bullpen made Shelton’s decision yesterday to let Sean Poppen try to keep the deficit at two look even more puzzling. Luis Oviedo, pitching for the first time in 16 days, threw two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and two walks, one intentional. Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez, either of whom could have pitched yesterday, each threw a scoreless inning.