Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 8, Pirates 5

Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 8, Pirates 5

By Rob Rains

Another start, another win for Jack Flaherty. And another win for the Cardinals over the Pirates.

Flaherty remained perfect on the season, raising his record to 8-0 as he won his eighth consecutive start on Wednesday night, defeating the Pirates at Busch Stadium. It was the Cardinals’ ninth consecutive win over the Pirates, a streak that dates back to last September.

The Pirates were able to snap Flaherty’s scoreless streak at 20 innings with a two-run homer by Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning.

During his streak, Flaherty has allowed a combined total of nine earned runs in his eight wins, becoming the first Cardinals starter to win eight consecutive starts since 1985, when both John Tudor (nine in a row) and Joaquin Andujar did it.

Flaherty also became the first Cardinals pitcher to go 8-0 in his first nine starts of the season since Bob Gibson in 1965, who like Flaherty had a no-decision on opening day and then reeled off wins in his next eight starts.

Here is how Wednesday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: Paul Goldschmidt drove in a run in each of the first two innings with a double and single as the Cardinals built an early 6-0 lead, scoring once in the first and five times in the second … Tommy Edman’s single in the second drove in two of the runs. He had doubled and scored in the first … Edman also had a sacrifice fly in the fifth, ahead of an RBI single by Dylan Carlson … Flaherty had three plate appearances without an official at-bat, hitting a sacrifice fly and drawing two walks … Goldschmidt’s three hits raised his average in May to .317 (20-of-63) after hitting .214 in April (22-of-103).

On the mound: Flaherty allowed just four hits over his six innings but also walked four, including one intentional walk. He recorded seven strikeouts … The combination of Kodi Whitley and Tyler Webb could only retire one of the six batters they faced in the seventh as the Pirates scored three runs. They loaded the bases off Whitley, but Webb allowed all three of the inherited runners to score. Genesis Cabrera was finally able to get out of the inning … Ryan Helsley got two outs in the eighth before Alex Reyes closed out the game in the ninth, earning his 13th consecutive save. He struck out the last batters after a leadoff single. Of the last 20 outs Reyes has recorded in his last six games, 15 have been by strikeout.

Key stat: Polanco’s homer was the first allowed by the Cardinals in five-plus home games, snapping a steak of 231 consecutive plate appearances without allowing a home run.

Worth noting: The Cardinals announced Wednesday that they will open Busch Stadium to full capacity on June 14. Tickets for games from that day until the end of the season will go on sale on May 27 … Carlos Martinez will be activated from the injured list and make the start on Friday night in the opening game of the series against the Cubs, followed by Miles Mikolas coming off the injured list to make his season debut on Saturday night and Adam Wainwright on Sunday night. Kwang Hyun Kim and John Gant will pitch against the White Sox next week in Chicago … Top prospect Nolan Gorman made his professional debut at second base on Wednesday night at Double A Springfield. The game’s second batter hit a groundball to Gorman, who didn’t get another fielding chance until the sixth inning. The game was later suspended because of rain … After getting one hit in four innings on Wednesday by the Mets Noah Syndergaard, making a rehab start, the Palm Beach Cardinals will have to face Jacob deGrom on Thursday as the Mets’ ace also makes a rehab start. The only hit off Syndergaard was a double by L.J. Jones.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will have their second day off of the week on Thursday before the Cubs come to town for their first game in Sr. Louis since 2019. All 10 games between the two teams last year were played in Chicago.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.