PITTSBURGH — Pirates starter Charlie Morton pitched six innings, allowing just one run and striking out two as the Pirates beat St. Louis Monday night, 4-3.
Morton, who went 2-12 in 2010 with a 7.57 ERA, looked better in Monday night’s win than he did in any of his outings last season. He did damage control when he needed to, took what was given to him and kept the Pirates close when the lineup was having trouble producing.
The Cardinals led 1-0 through five innings thanks to a ground out by David Freese that drove in Lance Berkman from third base. That lead held until the top of the sixth, when the Pirates exploded for four runs in back-to-back at bats.
Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno singled to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Morton. Right fielder Jose Tabata walked to put men on first and second, and second baseman Neil Walker doubled in both on the first pitch he saw to give the Bucs a 2-1 lead.
Andrew McCutchen followed up Walker with a home run to left field on his first swing, increasing the lead to 4-1.
Morton pitched the bottom of the sixth inning, facing just four batters and surrendering nothing to the scoreboard. Jose Veras relieved Morton in the seventh and sent the Cardinals down in order.
Evan Meek came in to pitch the eighth inning for the Pirates and, like two days earlier in Chicago, struggled, quickly giving up a single and a walk to put men on first and second. St. Louis right fielder Lance Berkman then singled up the right side of the infield, scoring one.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle took little time removing Meek for Mike Crotta, who got two quick outs. Joel Hanrahan then came in to get the final out of the eighth inning, striking out Yadier Molina with a man in scoring position.
Hanrahan stayed in to close out the ninth inning in order, striking out one.
Reaction around the web:
- Pittsburgh Sports Depot breaks down Morton’s impressive start and what it might mean to his season.
- WHYGAVS has a breakdown of Morton’s start with PitchFK graphics, comparing last night to some of his previous starts.
- Raise the Jolly Roger points out Morton’s newest nickname: Electric Stuff. If you have a Twitter account, go to RTJR and check out the #ElectricStuff hashtag from last night. Just incredible.
Chris Gates | Bucs Blog