Lynn shuts down Pirates as Cardinals cruise
Lance Lynn worked 6 1/3 innings and added a rare run-scoring double at the plate as the St. Louis Cardinals cooled off the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 on Saturday night.
Lynn (8-6) allowed eight hits and struck out three without issuing a walk to win his second straight start. Lynn hasn't allowed a run in his last 13 1/3 innings of work.
Tommy Pham had three hits and an RBI for St. Louis. Matt Carpenter went 2 for 4 with an RBI as the Cardinals sent the Pirates to just their second loss in the last eight games.
Jameson Taillon (5-3) lost for the first time in nearly a month. The Cardinals pecked away at Taillon for four runs in five innings. Taillon struck out five but tied a season high by allowing eight hits.
Francisco Cervelli went 2 for 4 with a double for Pirates. Pittsburgh left nine runners on base and went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
The Cardinals and Pirates are both trying to find something resembling traction in hopes of remaining within striking distance of Milwaukee in the middling NL Central. Pittsburgh began the second-half with a boost when rookie Josh Bell hit a walkoff three-run homer on Friday night.
The momentum came to a halt against Lynn. Though he retired the Pirates in order just once, Lynn only gave up one extra base hit and used double plays in the second and fourth to wiggle himself out of trouble. The 30-year-old who began the night hitting just .065 on the season managed to chip in at the plate too. The right-handed pitcher experimented with hitting left-handed earlier this month, something he has no plans of abandoning.
Lynn grounded out weakly to first in his initial at-bat but with Luke Voit on first and two outs in the fifth he slapped a double to left-center, with Voit coming around to score when Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen overran the ball. Lynn came around to score on Carpenter's RBI single and Pham doubled to left to send Carpenter racing home to push the St. Louis lead to 4-0. Pham is 9 for 14 over his last four games.
Lynn was pulled with one out in the seventh after giving up consecutive hits to Cervelli and Jordy Mercer. Reliever Matt Bowman walked Adam Frazier with two outs to load the bases but Pirates All-Star second baseman Josh Harrison - mired in a slump - flied out to left to end the threat. Harrison is hitting just .119 this month after going 0 for 4.
The Pirates plan to throw OF Starling Marte right back into the fire when he returns from his 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Marte is eligible to return on Tuesday against Milwaukee. He is currently in Triple-A Indianapolis and entered Saturday hitting .270 with one home run and three RBIs in 10 starts for Indianapolis and Class-A Bradenton.
"If he has a spark right away, maybe we can ride it," manager Clint Hurdle said. "If he's challenged for a few games, we might need to back away. We're going to assess as we go, day by day."
Cardinals: Placed OF Stephen Piscotty on the 10-day DL with a strained right groin and called up OF Magneuris Sierra from Double-A Springfield. The 21-year-old Sierra hit .375 in eight games with the Cardinals earlier this season.
Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (6-8, 3.40 ERA), coming off two scoreless innings for the National League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, makes his 19th start of the season in the series finale on Sunday. Martinez is 4-5 with a 3.59 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh.
Pirates: Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.80 ERA) will make his first career start against the Cardinals. Williams has a 3.50 ERA in his last three starts at PNC Park.