(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The scoreboard didn’t show it as much, but Sunday’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t go so well for the St. Louis Cardinals. They lost 4-1 as Pirates’ veteran pitcher Francisco Liriano had the team’s number once again, even with the Cardinals putting their ace Adam Wainwright on the mound.
They looked to bounce back in the second game of the series, this time with Michael Wacha on the mound.
But once again, the Pirates came out on top.
In the bottom of the 11th inning at PNC Park, Pirates’ shortstop Jordy Mercer singled home Gregory Polanco with one out to give Pittsburgh the 6-5 win, putting them at 2-0 for the season, while their rival Cardinals drop to 0-2.
“Nothing breeds confidence like success,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after the game. “In business. In life. In sport. (Mercer) had a big hit the other day, hit the ball in the gap, drove in a runner. Had two hits tonight. Good to see.”
Pirates’ star player Andrew McCutcheon once again had a great day at the plate, garnering three hits. Former Cardinal David Freese added another two hits, but as the game wore on the Pirates began to struggle against the St. Louis bullpen.
Cardinals rookie outfielder Tommy Pham was unable to play due to being placed on the DL the day prior, yet another case of the injury bug hitting the Cardinals. Once again, the team struggled when runners were in scoring position, going 1-12 with RISP.
Two bright spots from the team came in the form of Jedd Gyorko, the newly acquired second baseman who hit the first home-run of the season for the Cardinals and Stephen Piscotty, who went 2-4 with two-RBI as well.
“We had some strikeouts again but I thought we had a better approach at the plate today,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “Better execution, not necessarily, but guys taking better at-bats today.”
In the series finale on Wednesday, Mike Leake will make his regular season debut for the St. Louis Cardinals.