Bucs can’t hold on to early lead, lose 3-2 to Cardinals
The Pirates quickly got to right-hand pitcher Kyle McClellan, scoring two runs in the 1st inning, but the bats fell silent as they lost 3-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Tuesday.
Jose Tabata lead off the 1st inning with a double to center field before Lyle Overbay hit a home run, his first as a Bucco, to give the Pirates an early 2-0 lead.
James McDonald, who was sidelined several weeks in spring training due to left side soreness, allowed two runs on four hits over 4.2 innings in his season debut while walking four and striking out four. He threw 87 pitches, 51 for strikes.
McDonald told Nate Latasch of MLB.com, “It was progress. I got into some situations, but I’m proud of the way I controlled the situations and got out of jams. I didn’t have my great stuff today, but I had enough stuff to compete and keep my team in the game, so I was happy.”
Manager Clint Hurdle added, “His arm was strong. Threw some good breaking balls. Command a little iffy right now, but he battled. To almost get through five and give up two runs, it was a good step forward for him. He got up in the higher 80s with his pitches from 69 last time. He needs to get in front of hitters a little bit more. He was behind a lot of hitters today. But I thought it was a good effort for him.”
McClellan, who made his first major league start, held the Pirates to two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over six innings.
Overbay told Matthew Leach of MLB.com, “You have to give credit to the other pitcher. He did real well. He kept the ball down. When he got in trouble he made the big pitch.”
McDonald didn’t allow a hit until Lance Berkman doubled in the 4th inning. The leadoff hit proved to be costly, as he was driven by a single hit by Allen Craig.
The Cardinals tacked on another run in the 5th after McDonald allowed back-to-back singles to Ryan Theroit and Colby Rasmus. Albert Pujols hit a sac fly to center to tie the game at two.
Lefty Scott Olson allowed a walk to Theroit and a single to Colby Rasums before Pujols stepped to the plate. After being rather quiet against the Bucs during Monday’s game, Pujols picked up his second RBI of the game, knocking in Theriot, and putting the Cardinals on top, 3-2.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Late in the game, walks don’t help. They usually hurt. And the walk to Theriot hurt. … Chris [Resop] made a good pitch to Pujols.”
“Got a two-hopper, found a hole.”
With two outs in the 8th inning, Andrew McCutchen hit a single and Lyle Overbay drew a walk but the opportunity was wasted as Pedro Alvarez struck out (for the third time of the night) to end the threat.
The Pirates struck out a total of 11 times. With the loss, the they drop to 3-2 this season, the Cardinals improved to 2-3. If the Bucs can pick up a victory on Wednesday, it would be the first time since 2007 that the Pirates have won back-to-back series on the road.