Friday’s Game Report: Pirates 9, Cardinals 4
The Cardinals have gone 16-3 at home since August 1, but now the challenge is to prove that they can win away from Busch Stadium.
To meet that challenge, they can’t have many repeats of what happened Friday night in Pittsburgh, when the bullpen allowed six runs in the seventh inning, turning a 4-1 lead into a 7-4 deficit and an eventual loss to the Pirates.
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 33-36 on the road, compared to a 46-26 record at home. Friday night’s game began a stretch that will see the Cardinals play 13 road games in a span of 19 games.
The only good news for the Cardinals was that the Cubs also lost Friday night, so they maintained their 2 ½ game lead in the NL Central Division.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Tommy Edman accounted for three of the Cardinals’ four runs with the first two-homer game of his career. He hit a two-run homer in the second inning and added a solo shot in the seventh, his sixth and seventh homers of the season … The other run scored in the seventh on an RBI double by Matt Carpenter … Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to 13 games … Marcell Ozuna was hitless in four at-bats and has just two hits in his last 35 at-bats … The Cardinals were 0-of-4 with runners in scoring position.
On the mound: Miles Mikolas allowed one run in five innings of work before turning the game over to the bullpen. The Pirates’ run in the third inning snapped a string of 25 consecutive scoreless innings from Cardinals’ starters. He allowed only three hits but issued four walks … In the seventh, John Gant allowed a hit and a walk before Andrew Miller relieved and allowed both runners to score. Miller also gave up three runs on his own, retiring only one of the four hitters he faced. John Brebbia took over at that point and gave up the final two runs in the inning … The final two Pirates runs scored in the eighth off Mike Mayers, giving the bullpen a combined eight runs allowed in just two innings after Tyler Webb had worked a scoreless sixth.
Key stat: In 14 games over the last month, since Aug. 6, Miller has allowed eight hits, walked eight and given up eight runs in 9 2/3 innings, an ERA of 7.45. He also has allowed four of 11 inherited runners to score during that stretch.
Worth noting: Former Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan died on Friday after a seven-year battle with brain cancer. He was 38. Duncan, the son of former pitching coach Dave Duncan, played for the Cardinals from 2005 to 2009, hitting the last home run in Busch Stadium II in 2006 … The loss was the first for the Cardinals in seven games in Pittsburgh this season and broke an eight-game winning streak at PNC Park that dated back to last August … The Cardinals have hit 27 homers against the Pirates this season, their most against any opponent.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series.