The Pirates wandered through a 4-1 loss to St. Louis in the opener of their three-game series at PNC Park. That brought their latest losing streak to six. They got only one hit in the game.
Steven Brault’s second start since his return was solid. He went five innings and allowed five hits, walked nobody and fanned six. Unfortunately, two of the hits left the park. The game’s first batter, Tommy Edman, hit one, then Paul DeJong connected in the second. Brault didn’t have much trouble after that, facing nine batters over his last three innings with the help of a double play.
Of course, the Pirates were having a lot more trouble with the struggling J.A. Happ. He came into the game with an ERA of 7.13 against everybody but the Pirates. He left after six innings, having allowed just one hit. That was Hoy Park’s first career home run. Happ has thrown 13.1 IP against the Pirates this year, allowing one run and two hits.
Brault threw only 78 pitches in his five innings, but Derek Shelton went with Kyle Keller in the sixth. Keller gave up two runs, one of them unearned due to an error on Kevin Newman, to put the Cards up, 4-1. There might have been more damage, but Jacob Stallings picked Harrison Bader off first.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Pirates had one of their many moments that leave fans wondering what sport they’re playing. With one out, a runner on first and the Cards up by three, Park laid down a sacrifice bunt. Do they do that in cricket? Rounders maybe?
The Cards sent legendary Arctic explorer Lars Nootbaar to bat for Happ in the seventh, then went to their bullpen. It didn’t matter, as the Pirates managed just a walk over the last three innings. The important thing, though, is that Gregory Polanco, John Nogowski and Kevin Newman continued to get the opportunities, which they handled by going 0-for-9.