Game Report: Pirates 8, Cardinals 1

Game Report: Pirates 8, Cardinals 1

For five innings on Friday night, John Gant matched zeroes with Joe Musgrove, holding the Pirates to just two singles, in what will likely be his last start for a while with Alex Reyes set to join the Cardinals’ starting rotation next week.

He wasn’t quite as sharp in the sixth, when a double by Greg Harrison broke up the scoreless game, and he did not get any help from his friends in the bullpen as the Pirates increased their lead over the next three innings.

Two runners Gant left on base scored after Brett Cecil relieved and the Pirates added three runs in the seventh off John Brebbia and two in the eighth off Greg Holland to improve to 4-0 this season against the Cardinals in Pittsburgh.

It was the Cardinals’ sixth consecutive loss in Pittsburgh dating back to last season, their longest losing streak since the Pirates moved into PNC Park in 2007.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Musgrove needed just 67 pitches to shut out the Cardinals through the first seven innings. He allowed five hits and struck out seven … The only run for the Cardinals came on Tommy Pham’s ninth homer of the year with two outs in the eighth, the Cardinals first run in Pittsburgh in 20 innings. The homer broke Pham’s 0-for-17 streak … It was the 11th time in their last 23 games the Cardinals have scored two or fewer runs.

On the mound: Gant’s trouble in the sixth began with a leadoff single by Musgrove, who scored on Harrison’s double. With one out, Gant hit the final batter he faced, Francisco Cervelli, before Cecil relieved and gave up a sacrifice fly and the first of Pittsburgh’s three triples. Cecil also gave up a hit to the leadoff batter in the eighth before Brebbia entered the game and loaded the bases on a single and walk. Cervilli then cleared the bases with a double … Holland gave up back-to-back triples in the eighth and an RBI single. The two runs raised Holland’s ERA to 9.45.

Key stat: In the last 12 games in which a reliever has appeared for the Cardinals, the bullpen has allowed a total of 33 runs in 41 1/3 innings, an ERA of 7.19. They have only had one game in which they did not allow a run, the 1 1/3 innings thrown by Jordan Hicks last Saturday when he hit 105 mph.

Worth noting: The Cardinals have not faced a left-handed pitcher in their last seven games, covering a total of 264 plate appearances. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they had a string of 262 consecutive plate appearances against right-handers in 1970. The Pirates are scheduled to start right-handers in each of the next two games … The Cardinals are expected to activate reliever Tyler Lyons and catcher Carson Kelly on Saturday. Kelly was 3-of-3 with a double on the second game of his rehab Friday night in Memphis … The three triples were the most allowed by the Cardinals in a game since July 30, 2013, also by the Pirates. It was the eighth time since 1990 the Cardinals have allowed three triples in a game, and five of those games were against the Pirates.

Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty, who threw 120 pitches in his last start last Saturday, will start the second game of the series in Saturday.

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