PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) —The St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs in the first inning off of Pirates starter Paul Maholm and added another in the third to provide all the support they’d need in a 6-4 win.
Maholm struggled after striking out the first batter of the game, giving up a triple off the Clemente Wall in right field and then a home run to Albert Pujols to center field for a quick 2-0 St. Louis lead. Pujols finished the game with another dominating stat line at PNC Park, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and two RBIs.
With two outs, Lance Berkman doubled to to left and David Freese homered to right for a 4-0 advantage after the first.
For a game and series that were billed as possibly the biggest in PNC Park history, the Cardinals’ first inning explosion was a sudden zap of excitement.
The Pirates didn’t fold, though, pulling to within one run in the coming innings.
After a Garrett Jones double in the second inning, Ronny Cedeno hit an RBI single to left field to cut the St. Louis lead to 4-1. Michael McKenry later reached on an infield single, and Maholm drove in Cedeno with a single with his own.
Unfortunately, the second inning ended on Maholm’s hit, as McKenry was tagged out while trying to advance from first to third.
St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter helped his own cause in the third inning, singling off Maholm in what proved to be the game-winning run. Carpenter went eight innings for St. Louis, giving up four runs on 10 hits and striking out four.
Maholm was pulled after six innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits.
The Pirates cut the deficit to one run in the sixth inning when Jones doubled in Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay to make it a 5-4 game, but the scoring ended there. With two on and two outs, Xavier Paul grounded out to first base to end the inning.
Chris Resop came on to pitch in the eighth inning and gave up a solo homer to Yadier Molina for a 6-4 St. Louis lead.
Newly acquired relief pitcher Jason Grilli came on and pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Buccos, but Cardinals closer Fernando Salas closed out the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Check back soon for a full recap including post-game quotes from managers and players on both teams.
Chris Gates | Bucs Blog