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Pirates get the hits, Cardinals the runs, as St. Louis wins 4-1

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals rookie Luke Weaver scattered 7 hits in 5 23 innings without allowing a run, while at the plate he drove in one and scored another, as the Pirates fell 4-1 in the opener of their series at Busch Stadium.

As in recent games, Pirates’ starter Trevor Williams danced through rain drops, but the bucket fell on his head in the fifth as his control escaped him.

Greg Garcia led off the bottom of the third for the Cardinals with a line double to left, and went to third on a ground out. The pitcher Weaver then hit a broken bat grounder to David Freese at third who conceded the run and threw out the batter at first.

Similarly in the fourth, Tommy Pham led off with a walk and went to third on a single by Jose Martinez. With first and third and no outs, Williams bore down, striking out Yadi Molina swinging on a high fastball, and then got Randal Grichuk to bounce to third - but Grichuk;s speed allowed him to narrowly avoid the double play and another run scored, making it 2-0 St. Louis.

After two scratch runs, Williams luck imploded in the fifth. With one out the pitcher Weaver grounded a single to center followed by Matt Carpenter walking for the third time in three trips to the plate. Stephen Piscotty would have walked as well, if he hadn’t swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch that nearly hit him. Tommy Pham did reach, loading the bases, when Williams’ 3-2 did hit Pham squarely in the ribs. Ray Searage had already visited the mound after the walk to Carpenter, so Williams alone had to call on some studliness. He got ahead of Martinez, but laid an 0-2 fastball at the letters that the cleanup hitter laced into center for a 2-run single and creating a 4-0 lead that was sufficient for the victory.

Meanwhile Weaver was effectively mixing his mid velocity fastball with a change-up that allowed no walks but the occasional single.

Recent Pirate Juan Nicasio made his first appearance for the Cardinals after being acquired in a trade from the Phillies, and efficiently mowed through his former teammates for a four out save.

This game was apparently the least attended on Bucs Dugout in quite awhile, with only 34 comments in the Game Thread at the time of this writing.

The series continues Saturday night when Chad Kuhl starts for the Pirates.