Brault too much for Cardinalls
Today: St. Louis at Pittsburgh, DH,, 4 p.m.; 7:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Cards TBA vs. Pirates RHP Trevor Williams (1-7), Gm. 1; Cards TBA vs. Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2), Gm. 2
TV: AT&T SportsNet
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Steven Brault pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game, Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped an eight-game skid with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.
St. Louis dropped to third place in the NL Central, 6¢ games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs and one back of the Cincinnati Reds. The top two finishers in each division advance to the expanded playoffs this year, along with two wild-card teams.
Brault (1-3) had never pitched more than seven innings in his previous 43 starts. The Cardinals got their only hits in the third. After Rangel Ravelo walked, Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman hit back-to-back singles, with Ravelo scoring on Edman’s hit.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit is due,” Wong said. “He pitched a good game and kept us off balance.”
Brault retired his final 16 batters. He struck out eight, walked two and threw 110 pitches.
Brault said he and catcher Jacob Stallings decided before the game to keep things simple. They didn’t even look at the scouting report.
“I wasn’t going to shake (off signs), I wasn’t going to think, I was just going to be a friggin’ throwing machine,” Brault said. “Just competing more, just attacking and trying to get outs as soon as possible.
“It was good. It was a lot of fun.”
Manager Derek Shelton said Brault deserved the opportunity to finish the game.
“I thought he was in complete control,” Shelton said. “I think he started the ninth with 95 (mph), and you know, it’s kind of one of those things. It was hitter by hitter. We weren’t going to put him in position that he threw too many (pitches).”
Polanco’s homer with two outs in the fourth off Austin Gomber (0-1) just cleared the fence in right-center and put the Pirates ahead 3-1. Stallings capped the four-run inning with an RBI double.
Game notes: Pirates OF Cole Tucker was placed on the seven-day concussion list. INF/OF Jose Osuna was recalled from the team’s alternate training site in Altoona