The Pirates had opportunities to capitalize and rally back against St. Louis on Saturday. But their several failed attempts dropped them to seven games out of the National League Central in a big series against the Cardinals. The red birds moved within one game behind the Pirates for the second spot in the Wild Card after losing the one-run game.
10 men were left on the bases as the club went a combined 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Andrew McCutchen had a rough day at the plate going 0-for-5 stranding six of his own.
Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed five runs over his 4.2 innings, and the Pirates were able to battle twice to tie up the game with his deficits. But a two-run fifth inning, the left-hander’s final work proved to be costly in the loss.
The Pirates had the opportunity to battle back in both the eighth and ninth innings, but were unsuccessful. Garrett Jones and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison both picked up base knocks in the eighth, but two strikeouts and a fly out left them both stranded.
In the ninth, the Pirates loaded the bases against closer Jason Motte with no outs. Back-to-back singles and a hit by pitch threatened the two-run Cardinals lead. McCutchen grounded into a force out, which allowed Gaby Sanchez to score, who doubled earlier. Jones and Harrison were unable to drive in the tying run from third as they dropped to 66-54 on the season.
Over their last six games the Pirates are batting just .180 (9-for-50) with runners in scoring position, and during that span are just 2-4.
Rotation Could See Changes Soon
The Pirates rotation could see some changes coming on the horizon. The rotation after Sunday is TBA for the San Diego series. Manager Clint Hurdle originally said that he was sticking with the six-man rotation until the off-day on the 23rd, but that could change.
With Neil Walker currently sidelined with a right pinky finger injury, the club is playing with a short bench. It also forces the bullpen to six arms, instead of seven due to the extra starter in the rotation. Hurdle could decide to move Kevin Correia back to the bullpen, to even out the arms.
There also could just be shuffling to give veteran A.J. Burnett his regular five days rest. That move would push left-hander Wandy Rodriguez back to Wednesday, giving Burnett the start on Tuesday in San Diego. Rodriguez has struggled since the Pirates acquired him at the trade deadline, and could benefit from the extra day of rest.
Marte Exits With Injury
Starling Marte was removed from the game due to discomfort in his right side. The outfielder tweaked his right oblique while running the bases. The rookie was replaced by Yamaico Navarro in left field in the seventh inning. Marte went 1-for-2 with a single and was also hit by a pitch.
Mercer to Undergo X-Rays
Jordy Mercer was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning, and after being examined by the Pirates training staff, remained in the game. The infielder was later sent to get x-rays after the game. Initial x-rays showed no break in his right wrist.