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Pirates Drop Rubber Match Against Cardinals 2-1

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates got four innings of strong bullpen work and Adam Frazier went deep, but it was not enough to take the rubber match of the series against the Cardinals Sunday, losing 2-1.

Trevor Williams (9-8) lasted only five innings of nine hit ball, but eight of those hits were singles and he did not walk a batter. That ninth hit was a solo home run by Matt Carpenter that opened the scoring in the fifth. Jedd Gyorko added a two out RBI knock later in the inning.

“It’s really one slip up. Who blinks first?’ Williams said. “And that’s what it came down to today, and I blinked first.”

Williams struck out three, threw 15 first pitch strikes to his 24 batters faced and retired six on three pitches or fewer.

Carpenter’s homer snapped a streak of 21.1 scoreless innings for Williams, which is the longest by a Pirate since Mark Melancon went 22.1 consecutive scoreless frames in 2015. He did not give much thought to the streak ending at the time, though.

“At that point in the game...they’re up one to nothing,” Williams said. “That’s what I was worried about just knowing how well Flaherty was throwing.”

Cardinals’ starter Jack Flaherty (5-6) went six shutout innings of three hit ball. The Pirates did have their chances against him, mainly in the third and fifth innings when they got a runner to third base with only one out. But Corey Dickerson struck out and Starling Marte popped out in the third to squander the rally, and pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow grounded into a double-play in the fifth.

Adam Frazier got the Bucs on the board in the seventh with a solo shot, and while the Pirates did put runners on the corners again that inning, they failed to cash in when RHP Jordan Hicks got Dickerson to groundout.

Bud Norris picked up his 21st save when he got pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez to pop out. Every Pirates position player played Sunday besides David Freese. He was unavailable after suffering a forearm contusion Friday that got progressively worse Saturday. He will join the team on their upcoming road trip.

You Again?

This was the fourth series the Pirates and Cardinals played this season, and it was the fourth time a pitching billing was Williams vs. Flaherty.

The duo had previously faced each other on Apr. 28, May 26 and May 31, with the Pirates taking the first two games and the Cardinals winning the last two.

“I tried to get him before the series. I saw him running around, tried to get him and say ‘I’m tired of pitching against you man,’” Williams said. “There’s like five other pitchers on the team you can pitch against.”

Williams’ complaint was, of course, in jest since he thinks so highly of the righty.

“If I voted for Rookie of the Year, I would vote for him,” Williams said.

On Deck

The Pirates will start a nine game road trip in Colorado Monday at 8:40 p.m.. Joe Musgrove (4-5, 3.63) will take the bump against Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.20).

NUMB3RS

  1. Williams’ 1-2-3 first inning was the first clean frame for Pirates pitchers since the third inning Tuesday (33 innings).
  2. Frazier is slashing .419/.438/.742 in 32 PAs since being recalled from AAA.
  3. Cervelli has a 4.19 catcher ERA this season (544 IP/253 ER). Elias Diaz has a 4.18 figure (426.2 IP, 198 ER).