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Pirates fall to Cardinals 5-4 in series finale

That’s a split.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates fell to 9-7 on the season after losing the final of four games to the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday afternoon, splitting the set with the Redbirds at Busch Stadium.

Mitch Keller turned in six innings of work for the Bucs, allowing three runs on seven hits, the biggest of which was Lars Nootbaar’s home run to knot the game at three in the sixth inning. Keller would walk a pair and strike out three in the process.

The loss falls to Wil Crowe who, after getting into a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the 10th inning, struck out Jordan Walker to bring up Tommy Edman with a chance to escape the jam. Edman swung at the first pitch and singled up the middle, ending the contest.

The Pirates opened the scoring in the first inning when Ke’Bryan Hayes led off the game with a triple, then Bryan Reynolds hit a sacrifice fly to bring him in, 1-0. Willson Contreras’s single in the bottom half of the inning knotted the game 1-1.

Austin Hedges added one with a single and RBI in the top of the second inning, promptly returning the lead to Pittsburgh 2-1. In the sixth, Tucupita Marcano reached on an error by second baseman Brendan Donovan, leading to the Pirates’ third run of the game. Nootbaar’s aforementioned home run in the bottom half of the inning tied the game 3-3.

After advancing to third in the 10th, Andrew McCutchen scored when Caanan Smith-Njigba hit a grounder to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The gold glover had trouble with the ball and botched it to the foul side of first base, ensuring that McCutchen scored easily, pushing the Pirates into the lead once again 4-3.

The bottom of the 10th saw several threats from the Cardinals throughout the half inning. Nolan Arenado lineout started the inning before Contreras walked, then Nolan Gorman automatic doubled the tying run in. Nootbaar was intentionally walked, which led to the Walker strikeout, before Edman ended the game.

The Pirates (9-7) will head to Colorado to take on the Rockies (5-10). Rich Hill (0-2, 7.20 ERA) and Kyle Freeland (2-0, 0.96) are the probable pitchers. The two teams will meet in a three game set.