Thursday’s Game Report: Pirates 5, Cardinals 0

Thursday’s Game Report: Pirates 5, Cardinals 0

By Rob Rains

The momentum the Cardinals hoped to build from after consecutive late-inning wins in Colorado apparently got lost somewhere on the trip home from Denver.

Despite a quality start from Jordan Montgomery, a bad night from the bullpen and the offense resulted in a shutout loss to the Pirates on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Busch Stadium.

It was the start of the Cardinals’ fifth series of the year and they are now 0-5 in the opening game of each series. It also was their fourth consecutive loss at home.

It also was the night that saw rookie Jordan Walker’s hitting streak to begin his career come to an end after 12 games as he was hitless in four at-bats, striking out twice.

Here is how Thursday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals were held to just six hits in being shut out for the second time in 13 games this season. Trailing 4-0 they did get the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning after a single by Alec Burleson, a double by Paul Goldschmidt and a walk to Willson Contreras but Nolan Gorman lined out to first to end the threat … The Cardinals also left runners on third base in the first and fourth innings as they were 0-of-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base … Brendan Donovan was the only Cardinal with two hits … Contreras walked twice and also reached on an error but his 0-of-2 night dropped his average to .171.

On the mound: It was a scoreless game into the sixth inning, when Montgomery allowed back-to-back doubles to Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Santana. He left the game after giving up consecutive singles with one out in the seventh and Jordan Hicks let one of the inherited runners score on a sacrifice fly. Hicks walked the other two hitters he faced, throwing only three of his 12 pitches for strikes … Genesis Cabrera served up back-to-back homers in the eighth and the final run scored in the ninth on a wild pitch from Chris Stratton after he gave up a leadoff double.

Key stat: After walking the first hitter he faced, Hicks has retired the first batter he faced only twice in his six appearances this season. Of the 31 batters he has faced 16 of them have reached base on eight hits and eight walks over 5 1/3 innings.

Worth noting: Lars Nootbaar served as the DH for Double A Springfield at Arkansas and was hitless in five at-bats. He struck out twice, but did drive in a run with a groundout. Nootbaar is expected to be back in St. Louis on Friday to serve as one of the hitters facing Adam Wainwright in a live batting practice session. Nootbaar could be activated as early as Saturday … If Wainwright comes through the session without any issues he likely will go out of a minor-league rehab assignment early next week … Walker’s streak tied the major-league record for longest streak by a player 20 years old or younger at the start of his career, joining Eddie Murphy of the 1912 Philadelphia A’s.

Looking ahead: Jake Woodford will get the start on Friday night while former Cardinal Johan Oviedo will start for the Pirates.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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