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Cardinals, not successful with home runs, play small ball to beat Pirates, 5-3

Rick Hummel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Baseball

PITTSBURGH — The Cardinals recently had homered in 12 consecutive games and 14 of 15, yet netting them only a middling record of 7-8. So they switched gears, hitting 10 singles to account for all their runs Friday night en route to a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Of course, more efficient starting pitching had something to do with it, too. Adam Wainwright, chalking up win No. 189 of his career, extended his mastery over the Pirates to 38 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, holding the Pirates to three singles before giving up a home run to Michael Chavis in the seventh, his final inning. Wainwright is 5-3 for the season and has won three in succession, pitching at least six innings in all three. The three previous starters on this trip hadn’t lasted past the fifth.

The beleaguered bullpen had a large assist as Giovanny Gallegos struck out the final five hitters of the game for his eighth save.

The Cardinals parlayed four of their singles into four game-breaking runs in the sixth inning.

A one-out walk to Nolan Arenado by reliever Heath Hembree opened the door. Juan Yepez singled to left and Pirates manager Derek Shelton called for left-handed reliever Anthony Banda to face left-handed-hitting rookie Nolan Gorman.

Gorman, who already had singled for his first big league hit and later flied to deep right center, walked on four pitches and then Dylan Carlson singled in one run, Yadier Molina singled in two and Harrison Bader singled in another before Banda was replaced.

 

Brendan Donovan, who had started at all four infield positions, mostly at shortstop lately, wasn’t in the field at PNC Park as Tommy Edman played shortstop and Gorman second base. But Donovan still was in the lineup, hitting second behind Edman, based on Donovan’s .490 on-base percentage.

That put both ahead of Paul Goldschmidt, who mostly had batted second this season.

Goldschmidt, who has hit third much of the season, batted second twice in the recent New York series and had six hits and six runs batted in those games, including four RBIs Thursday.

Manager Oliver Marmol said those two games didn’t matter so much as it did that Edman and Donovan were two of the Cardinals most adept at getting on base and he wanted them both ahead of Goldschmidt and new cleanup man Arenado.

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