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Pirates Blow Late Lead, Drop Home Opener To Cardinals In 11

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

Chris Archer struck out eight and Colin Moran drove in three, but the Pirates bullpen could not close the deal Monday, losing 6-5 in 11 innings.

The Pirates took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning, but the bullpen would go on to allow six runs over the game’s final five innings.

“You never have it won until you win it,” Clint Hurdle said. “...We didn’t play well enough to win today.”

The bullpen collapse cost Chris Archer, who went five shutout innings, a win.

“Our margin for error is small,” Archer said. “We can’t make mistakes, whether that be on the offensive side, defensive side, pitching side, whatever.”

There were plenty of errors on the defensive side Monday. In the seventh, the Cardinals pulled to within one run when Keone Kela- the third pitcher of the inning- walked in an unearned run that stemmed from a Colin Moran error at third base. In the ninth, Erik Gonzalez flubbed a ball to his left and the Pirates could not turn a double-play, eventually resulting in a game-tying double by Jose Martinez.

The deciding run came in the eleventh when Nick Kingham and Francisco Cervelli crossed up on a pitch, resulting in a passed ball.

The Pirates have taken a lead into the seventh inning in both of their losses this year.

“It’s a really small sample size,” Hurdle said on his bullpen’s struggles. “We’re going to keep pushing them out there, give them opportunities to build some consistency and continuity.”

Moran powered the Pirates’ offense, roping a two run double in the first inning to make it 3-0 and launching a go-ahead home run in the eighth, but he felt his error was the deciding factor.

“If I make that play, we probably win the game,” Moran said.

Amped Up Archer

Before the game, pitcher Trevor Williams set a line for how many batters it will take before Archer bellowed his first yell: one and a half batters.

“I’m taking the under,” Williams said.

Williams was right. Archer let out his first roar after catching the game’s leadoff batter Matt Carpenter looking on a full count for strike three.

He would go on to strike out seven more Cardinals without allowing a run in his two hit performance.

Archer showed his freshly dusted off curveball and two-seamer early, but found the most success with his slider. He got 15 whiffs on 37 total sliders, and seven of his strikeouts came via the breaking ball.

The location of the sliders Archer struck out batters with Monday. Courtesy of Baseball Savant.

The one knock on Archer’s performance is he lasted only five innings.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to good clubs. They worked me,” Archer said. “I definitely could have been more efficient, but it’s a good club.

“I’m just trying to put my team in a good position to win, and I felt like I did that today.”

On Deck

The Pirates and Cardinals will take the day off Tuesday before concluding their brief two game set Wednesday night. Jameson Taillon (0-1, 6.00) will take on Miles Mikolas (0-1, 9.00) at 7:05 p.m..


1. Moran’s home run had an exit velocity of 109.9 MPH according to Statcast- the hardest batted ball of his career. His first inning double registered at 107.7 MPH- the third highest for him ever.

2. Dating back to 2018, Archer has allowed just nine earned runs in 35 IP in his last six starts (2.31 ERA).

3. This snapped a streak of five straight Pirate home opener wins.