In a back-and-forth game, John Jaso struck last, hitting a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning, and the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 4-3, on Friday night at Busch Stadium.
With runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Clint Hurdle brought in Felipe Rivero, and he brought Jaso in for Josh Bell for a double switch — the second part not a popular move around these parts. Aledmys Diaz lined out on a 101 MPH fastball and Paul DeJong filed out to end the inning.
Jaso went up for his first at-bat with two outs in the top of the ninth and worked an eight-pitch at-bat, getting a close check-swing call to stay alive, and he smacked a changeup into the first row in right-center to give the Pirates the lead.
Rivero walked Eric Fryer, then retired three in a row in the bottom of the ninth.
The game first unfolded as a duel between Jameson Taillon and Adam Wainwright. Taillon gave up four hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking two. Wainwright, coming off a 1 2-3-inning, nine-run outing in Baltimore, limited the Pirates to two hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked two.
The score was tied at 2 through 6 1/2 innings. Bell and Jose Martinez exchanged line-drive homers down the lines, Bell’s a solo shot and Martinez’s going for two runs for a 2-1 St. Louis lead. A David Freese walk, a DeJong throwing error and an Andrew McCutchen groundout produced a run in the fourth to tie the game back up.
Daniel Hudson, who quietly had a nice little run after a rough start, did not do well in the seventh. Diaz, leading off, flied out to the center-field warning track, but DeJong got a little more for a solo homer and a 3-2 Cardinals lead. A couple walks, one intentional, left a mess for Juan Nicasio to clean up before he left a jam for Rivero the next inning.
The Pirates got runners on first and third with two outs against Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth, and Freese slapped one through the hole on the right side of the infield, scoring Adam Frazier for the tying run.
Freese was the only Pirate to get on base more than once, with the single and a walk.
Gerrit Cole faces an old foe in Lance Lynn in the second game of the series Saturday night.