Admittedly, part of the problem just might be that the Pirates aren’t used to having leads.
Chase De Jong gave up two homers in the ninth inning, including a two-run bomb by Albert Pujols (who’s officially ahead of A-Rod now) to destroy an excellent Mitch Keller outing and give the Cardinals the series, 4-3.
Over seven innings, Keller only gave up two hits, walked three, and struck out six while shutting out the Cardinals. Oneil Cruz got the Pirates on the board first in the third inning with a forceout, bringing Greg Allen home after he singled off Jose Quintana and was moved up by a steal and a Jason Delay single. Derek Shelton also got tossed in the third after objecting to a third strike call on Bryan Reynolds. Jack Suwinski hit a homer in the seventh to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
I imagine that Keller is on either a pitch count or an inning limit because he was yanked in the seventh in favor of Duane Underwood Jr., who pitched a scoreless eighth. Then Chase de Jong ruined any chance of Mitch buying him a postgame beer, promptly giving up two doubles to Tommy Edman and Corey Dickerson in the ninth. Dickerson brought Edman home, and Pujols bombed Dickerson home. And just like that, the Pirates were on the losing end. Some minor hope blossomed in the bottom of the ninth when Greg Allen homered, but too little, too late. To add insult to injury, former Pirate Chris Stratton got the win for the Cardinals.
Well at least the Steelers won, so Pittsburgh didn’t do a total oh-fer this weekend.