I was racking my brain trying to figure out some sort of lede involving Francisco Liriano saying something like "Take a chill pill" to Pirates fans with his pitching performance. Turns out I didn't need it.
Liriano wasn't a disaster, but the Pirates couldn't do much of anything against Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez in a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on Saturday night.
Martinez went 8 1-3 innings, holding the Pirates scoreless on just three hits through six of them, finishing with five strikeouts and three walks and allowing one run on six hits. He was able to be dominant, though, thanks to three double plays turned behind him. The Pirates didn't get a man to second base until Gregory Polanco's double to lead off the bottom of the seventh -- he would score the Bucs' only run on a Josh Harrison sacrifice fly.
Liriano loaded the bases in the first, but escaped without any damage and settled down for three innings. In the fifth he allowed a leadoff double to Brandon Moss and sent him to third with a wild pitch. Liriano struck out Jedd Gyorko on a ball in the dirt that Chris Stewart probably should've blocked, but didn't, allowing Moss to score and Gyorko to take first base. With two outs, Liriano walked Aledmys Diaz, then Matt Holliday popped a three-run home run just over the Clemente Wall.
The Cardinals added another run in the seventh. Polanco couldn't handle a single cleanly, allowing Randal Grichuk to take third, and Jhonny Peralta singled him in.
Martinez was still pumping the high-90s in the ninth inning, striking Andrew McCutchen out on three pitches, but a walk to Polanco and a single by Jung-Ho Kang brought a little, tiny sliver of excitement to the sellout crowd and chased the starter. Trevor Rosenthal snuffed that out, though.
Oh, and Chris Stewart left the game after a collision with Jeremy Hazelbaker, who was thrown out at the plate in the seventh. Erik Kratz re-debuted with the Pirates, catching the final two innings, and the Pirates might need to find somebody to catch a few more in the future.
None of it was very much fun at all, really.