PITTSBURGH -- The St. Louis Cardinals' current trend kept them from overcoming Lance Lynn's longstanding one.
The lineup couldn't get the big hit and Lynn couldn't avoid the big inning.
For the second time in as many nights at PNC Park, the Pirates upended the Cardinals' lead with a single-inning outburst. They plated four against Lance Lynn in the fourth inning and then carefully defused every threat the Cardinals mustered from there to hold on for a 4-3 victory Saturday. The Cardinals put the tying run in scoring position in the fifth inning, in the seventh inning, in the eighth inning, and again in the ninth inning.
Only once did that runner get as close to home as third base.
The loss assures the Cardinals of a losing record on this three-city, nine-game road trip. It also plunges them to losing record overall for the second time on the journey. As detrimental is what the series has already done for the Pirates. One of the three playoff teams last fall from the National League Central, Pittsburgh was 10-18 at the end of last month. But Saturday's win was their fourth consecutive and their sixth in eight games. They'll host the Cardinals on Sunday for the city's first visit from ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball in a generation and a chance to sweep the series and yank the Cardinals down in the standings with them.
The Cardinals got the leadoff hitter on base in each of the final two innings. Matt Adams opened the eighth with a double off the left-field wall. Two strikeouts meant he didn't advance before the inning ended. In the ninth, pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso streaked a single to right field and a hit batter put the tying run at second for Allen Craig. Closer Mark Melancon struck him out to secure the win and his fourth save.
Without the key hit that they did so adroitly last season, the Cardinals could not answer the four-run inning that flipped the game on Lynn.
(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services