Joe Musgrove got off to a record setting start to his outing Thursday, but he quickly faded in a 5-0 Pirates loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Musgrove (5-8) started the game by throwing a strike on his first 21 pitches. According to Stats by Stats, that is the longest streak to open a game since pitches were first tracked in 1988.
But it was all downhill from the first ball. Harrison Bader opened the scoring in the third with a solo home run, and pitcher John Gant made it back-to-back jacks with his second dinger of the year.
Paul DeJong added an RBI ground out in the fourth and Jose Martinez singled home two in the fifth to conclude the scoring.
Musgrove finished with six innings of five run ball, allowing seven hits and a walk while fanning seven.
Gant (6-5) started slow on the mound, needing 30 pitches to escape a first inning bases loaded jam. He settled in from there, only allowing three more baserunners in his 5.2 innings of work, striking out six. The Cardinals deployed five relievers to hang on for their 10th straight series win.
Nick Kingham and Richard Rodriguez each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Bucs.
The Pirates stranded five runners in the seventh and eighth innings and 11 on the night.
The Pirates will head to Atlanta Friday to wrap up the three city road trip. Jameson Taillon (10-9, 3.49) and Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.05) will square off at 7:35 p.m..
1. Starling Marte beat out his fifth bunt hit of the season in the third inning. He has a .556 batting average on bunt attempts this year (5-9). Among the seven major leaguers with 5+ bunt hits and qualify for a batting title, only Matt Carpenter has a higher average on bunt attempts (6/7, .857).
2. The game ended with Gregory Polanco grounding into a double-play. That was the Pirates’ 31st GIDP in August- the most in baseball.
3. The Pirates have been shutout in four of their last 13 games. They have been held to one run twice and two runs three times in that stretch, too.