Cards snap skid, nip Pirates
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals lost the first two games Lance Lynn started this season, and he didn’t like it.
In his third start, Lynn did something about it. He pitched seven shutout innings.
Kolten Wong helped with a home run and the Cardinals stopped a three-game losing streak, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-1, Monday night.
“You want to be known as the stopper,” Lynn said. “When you go through a rotation and see we’ve not pitched the way were capable of or played the way were capable of, you want to be the guy that kind of gets us going and stops it. Hopefully, that will bleed into the next start.”
The Cardinals, who had lost six of seven, are 4-9 and still have the worst record in the NL.
Pittsburgh had won three in a row before losing in a game that took only 2 hours, 14 minutes.
Lynn (1-1) allowed three hits and struck out five while walking one. He also hit two batters.
“Lynn was good,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ve seen Lynn good here. We’ve had more success against him at home. The slider plagued our right-handers.”
It was the outing Lynn wanted to have.
“I really hate losing, especially when I don’t do my job,” Lynn said. “It was time for me to get going and get back to doing what I’m capable of doing.”
“I felt good tonight. You know, it’s the biggest win possible in April that you could have, so we’re going to be all right,” he said.
Seung-Hwan Oh worked around an RBI double by pinch hitter Gregory Polanco in the ninth to record the Cardinals’ first save of the season. The last time it took St. Louis 13 games into a season to get a save was 1980, when Mark Littell closed out the Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
Ivan Nova (1-2) gave up five hits and no walks in eight innings while striking out three. In 14 overall starts for the Pirates, Nova has four complete games and a grand total of three walks.
Wong led off the third with a home run that landed in the right field bullpen. It was his seventh career home against the Pirates.
“He’s been a thorn in our side,” Hurdle said.
Nova knew right away he made a bad pitch.
“I made a mistake,” he said. “I wanted to go outside and the ball was inside to his power and he took advantage of it.”
St. Louis added a run in the seventh when Randal Grichuk singled, stole second, took third on a throwing error by catcher Francisco Cervelli and scored on a single by Jose Martinez.
Trevor Rosenthal pitched a spotless eighth for the Cardinals. Polanco doubled with two outs in the ninth before Oh retired pinch hitter John Jaso on a grounder.
“Rosie came in and was terrific and Oh got through it,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
Pirates: Polanco did not start for the third game due to right groin discomfort.
Cardinals: 1B Matt Carpenter did not start. He was hit in the bare hand on a groundout Sunday night against the Yankees. He appeared to damage the nail on his right ring finger.
Pittsburgh acquired RHP Johnny Barbato from the New York Yankees on Monday for a player to be named or cash. Barbato, 24, was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis where he will work as a reliever. He was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Wednesday.
The Pirates’ Josh Harrison was hit by Lynn’s pitch in the second inning and in the fourth inning. That marked four consecutive plate appearances he was hit by a pitch. … Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen singled to left in the first inning. He has hit safely in eight consecutive games.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (0-1, 2.38 ERA) will make his third start. The 24-year-old Kuhl is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals.
Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake (1-1, 3.00 ERA) will make his third outing coming off pitching seven scoreless innings in a 6-1 win at Washington. He is 9-5 with a 3.36 ERA in 28 starts against Pittsburgh.