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Keller, bullpen shut down Cards

The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS– Mitch Keller struck out six over five solid innings, Gregory Polanco drove in two runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 Friday night.

Pinch-hitter Yoshi Tsutsugo hit his first homer with Pittsburgh in the ninth.

Keller (4-10) walked one and worked around six hits in picking up his first victory since May 29. He had allowed 10 earned runs across 14• innings in his previous three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Three relievers covered the final four innings to preserve the shutout.

Rookie Lars Nootbaar had three singles to lead St. Louis’ 10-hit attack. The Cardinals stranded 12.

St. Louis entered the day 3 1/2 games behind San Diego for the second NL wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh recorded just four hits but snapped a five-game skid. The Pirates had lost 13 of 14 before the victory.

The Pirates broke through with two runs in the fourth after Colin Moran led off with a single of Miles Mikolas (0-1). Moran has hit safely in each of his last 15 games at Busch Stadium.

Jacob Stallings hit a line drive single to center that skipped past Harrison Bader and rolled to the wall for a two-base error. A sacrifice fly by Polanco scored Stallings. Both runs were unearned.

Pittsburgh went ahead 3-0 in the sixth when Polanco’s sacrifice fly to center off Andrew Miller scored Bryan Reynolds, who led off with a double.

Mikolas, who was activated Friday after he completed a five-game injury rehabilitation assignment, threw 84 pitches over five innings in his second start of 2021. He allowed two hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

His previous start for the Cardinals this season came back on May 22. That was his first with St. Louis since the 2019 NLCS after a flexor tendon injury sidelined him in 2020, and the forearm tightness and a right shoulder injury slowed him down this year.

He’s back

RHP Chad Kuhl was reinstated Friday from the COVID IL. Kuhl had been on the COVID IL since Aug. 2, after he said he tested positive. Kuhl said his symptoms were mild, but the Pirates plan to use him out of the bullpen to build him back up. … RHP Cody Ponce was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Ponce was the corresponding move to make room on the active roster for Kuhl. He has allowed 21 runs in 22ª innings this season.

Health report

Pirates: OF Anthony Alford (lower back strain) has resumed baseball activities by playing catch and hitting in the cage.

Up next

Pirates: LHP Dillon Peters (0-1, 1.93 ERA) will be making his second start of the season as a member of the Pirates. Peters, who will turn 29 on Aug. 31, was acquired by the Pirates in exchange for cash considerations on July 19 after being designated for assignment by the Angels on July 14.

Cardinals: LHP J.A. Happ (7-6, 6.03 ERA) has faced the Pirates twice this season, once as a Twin and once as a Cardinal just over a week ago. He is 2-0 against them.

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