The Pirates had St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright on the ropes early Saturday but squandered a major opportunity and wound up losing to the host Cardinals, 9-1, in the season’s second game at Busch Stadium.
The Bucs, now 0-2, will look to snag their first win of the season this afternoon at 2:15 in the series finale at St. Louis.
Pittsburgh had a chance to do major damage in the second inning of Saturday’s game but managed just one run and barely showed signs of life from that point on.
In the second, Josh Bell and Colin Moran singled and Phillip Evans, making the start at third base in place of Moran – who moved to DH – was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Center fielder Guillermo Heredia got ahead of Wainwright 3-1 but the veteran right-hander came back to strike Heredia out looking.
Pirates catcher John Ryan Murphy worked Wainwright for a walk to tie the game, but Wainwright escaped further damage by getting Cole Tucker to pop out and inducing Kevin Newman to ground out.
The Cardinals went in front for good in the fourth as they strung together singles by Paul DeJong, Yadier Molina, Dexter Fowler and Tyler O’Neill.
DeJong also was in the middle of a seventh-inning rally that put the game away for good. His two-run single off reliever Kyle Crick turned a 3-1 Cardinals’ lead to 5-1 and Matt Carpenter followed with a two-run double off Robbie Erlin to make it 7-1.
The Pirates managed just three hits in the game – one each by Bell, Moran and Murphy — as Wainwright worked six innings, striking out five and walking one.
Pirates starter Trevor Williams lasted just 3 2/3 innings, yielding five hits and three runs, all earned, while walking one and striking out three.
Chris Stratton worked a clean 1 1/3 innings, and Nik Turley retired the three men he faced in order before turning things over to Crick, who was charged with four runs – none of them earned due to his own error – in two-thirds of an inning.