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Punchless Pirates fall to Cardinals

Punchless Pirates fall to Cardinals
No one can blame the guys at the top of the batting order for the Pirates' 5-1 clunker Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Nyjer Morgan and Freddy Sanchez both got on base in each of their first three at-bats. Morgan worked three full counts, and wound up with a walk and two singles. Sanchez singled to center and left fields and also had an infield hit.

But every time the Pirates put pressure on Mitchell Boggs -- with the middle of the lineup coming up, no less -- the Cardinals' newbie right-hander wriggled free.

"We had 12 hits. Unfortunately, we just didn't get the one that we needed," said Nate McLouth, who popped up with Morgan and Sanchez on base in the first inning and grounded into a double play in the third.

Through four innings, the Pirates had three opportunities to grab control of the game. They got nine hits and two walks in that span, yet managed only one run.

"It was one of those games we just couldn't push anything across," manager John Russell said.

The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Jeff Karstens (1-2). Yadier Molina singled and Colby Rasmus mashed a 458-foot home run.

"It sounded like an explosion off the bat," Karstens said. "I didn't even see where it went. I put my head down."

The ball bounced on the Riverwalk behind right field and landed in the Allegheny River. It was the 25th splashdown since PNC Park opened in 2001, making Rasmus the 18th player to do it.

Morgan and Sanchez reached base with none out in the first inning and again with one out in the third. But the Pirates failed to break through against Boggs, who made just his 10th start in the majors.

The first-inning rally was snuffed by three weak outs. In the third, McLouth bounced into an inning-ending double play.

The Pirates finally got some hits in the fourth -- but screwed that up, too.

Adam LaRoche led off with a fly ball to the small notch in right-center field. The ball took a funny bounce off the wall and rolled away from right fielder Shane Robinson, and LaRoche wound up with his sixth career triple.

Robinzon Diaz lined a single to center, scoring LaRoche to make it 2-1.

Eric Hinkse followed with a sharp grounder which ticked off the glove of first baseman Albert Pujols for an infield single.

Diaz, however, kept chugging to third base and was thrown out easily.

"It was the right idea," Russell said. "He thought the ball was through. The mistake was, he needs to pick up the third base coach. It was a youthful mistake."

Brandon Moss singled into the right field corner. If Diaz had been at second base, he likely would have scored and tied the game. Instead, Jack Wilson grounded into another double play, leaving the Pirates short.

St. Louis regained a two-run edge in the fifth. Boggs doubled to left -- his first hit in the majors -- and eventually scored on Robinson's sacrifice fly.

Karstens worked six innings and gave up three runs on seven hits.

"My sinker was terrible tonight," Karstens said. "I was able to slip some curveballs in there, so I kept throwing them. When you see (Albert) Pujols take bad swings, you know there's something going on with it."

With one out in the fifth, Morgan and Sanchez again were on base. Boggs balked, putting them at second and third. When McLouth walked, loading the bases, Boggs gave way to lefty reliever Trever Miller (1-0).

Adam LaRoche fouled out on a 1-0 pitch. Diaz ran the count full, then flied out to center.

Even Meek yielded two runs in the eighth. Skip Schumaker and Robinson singled, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Albert Pujols' single to center.

How they scored

??? Cardinals second inning (Jeff Karstens pitching)

With one out, Yadier Molina singled to right field. Colby Rasmus hit a two-run home run (No. 2) to right field (the ball bounced into the Allegheny River) on the first pitch.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 0

??? Pirates fourth (Mitchell Boggs pitching)

Adam LaRoche tripled to right-center. Robinzon Diaz singled to center, LaRoche scored.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

??? Cardinals fifth

Boggs doubled to left. Skip Schumaker singled to center, Boggs to third. Shane Robinson flied out to left, sacrifice; Boggs scored.

Cardinals 3, Pirates 1

??? Cardinals eighth (Evan Meek pitching)

Schumaker singled to shortstop. Robinson singled to right, Schumaker to second. Wild pitch, Schumaker to third, Robinson to second. Albert Pujols singled to center, Schumaker and Robinson scored.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 1

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 15, 2009

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