The Pirates got in an early hole that got even deeper, and their attempt to crawl out of it came up short in a 12-8 loss to the Cardinals Friday night.
The Cards scored two in the first (on a walk and two singles) and then three in the third (on a series of extra-base hits), all off A.J. Burnett.
The Bucs got one back in the fifth on an RBI single by Pedro Alvarez. But the Cards went berzerk two innings later, crushing Jared Hughes and then Bryan Morris in a seven-run inning capped by a three-run bomb by Yadier Molina.
12-1. Game over, right? Actually, not entirely. It's funny -- Clint Hurdle turned to Kris Johnson, Hughes and Morris with the Pirates down four or five runs, which is exactly how you should use guys like that if they're going to be on the roster. Unfortunately, this particular time, they may have somehow cost the Pirates a chance at winning the game.
The Bucs battled back, picking up four in the eighth inning. John Axford and Mike Matheny got ejected that inning after Axford hit Tony Sanchez, and the Bucs made them pay, as Sanchez later came around to score on a groundout by Garrett Jones. Josh Harrison also hit a two-run homer in the inning.
The Bucs got right back in the saddle in the ninth, continuing to score against the mediocre Jake Westbrook. They only got three, but that was enough to force the Cards to turn to Carlos Martinez and then Edward Mujica. That's something. Unfortunately, it turns out that a 12-1 lead is really tough to come back from, and the Pirates will have to take another shot at win no. 82 tomorrow. They'll also be looking for a win to preserve their division lead.