The Pittsburgh Pirates will seek continued top-of-the-order production when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals again Saturday.
Adam Frazier, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds drove the offense as the Pirates won the first two games of this four-game series at Busch Stadium.
In the 8-2 victory Thursday, those three hitters combined go to 8-for-12 with two homers, three walks, five RBIs and six runs scored.
“They’ve put together consistent at-bats,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Those guys at the top have really done a nice job all year long.”
In Friday’s 5-4 victory, those three combined to reach base seven times (three hits, two walks, one hit by pitch, one fielder’s choice) and score four times. Reynolds extended his hitting streak to 10 games, and Hayes pushed his on-base streak to 29 games.
“I think it’s our job, being the top three in that order, to just get on base and produce some runs,” said Frazier, who has a .401 on-base percentage this season.
While the Pirates have won five of their last seven games, the Cardinals have lost five straight games and seven of eight.
But manager Mike Shildt saw progress with new leadoff hitter Dylan Carlson (homer, two RBIs) and No. 3 hitter Nolan Arenado (single, homer, three walks) providing a spark.
“There was a lot of positive signs from the offense — six walks, a lot of traffic out there, a lot of good at-bats, guys going the other way, Dylan hitting an opposite field bomb, Nolan was tremendous tonight,” Shildt said.
“It comes down to little things. We weren’t able to get that proverbial big hit.”
JT Brubaker (4-6, 3.77 ERA) will start Saturday’s game for the Pirates. He is coming off a hard-luck 2-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on June 20.
Brubaker struck out nine batters, walked nobody and allowed two runs on three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He made use of his full pitch arsenal in that game.
“We didn’t really have to show them the slider too much [early], which we were able to do the second and third time through,” catcher Jacob Stallings said after that game. “I thought that was really big for him and us.”
Brubaker is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA against the Cardinals in two starts this season and 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in three career appearances, which includes one in relief in 2020.
Arenado (3-for-5, walk, two doubles, homer, four RBIs), Carlson (3-for-5, walk, double), Tommy Edman (3-for-8, two RBIs), Edmundo Sosa (2-for-3, double, RBI), Tyler O’Neill (1-for-3, home run) and Yadier Molina (2-for-4) have hit well against Brubaker.
Adam Wainwright (5-5, 3.74 ERA) will start for the Cardinals. He went the distance in a seven-inning doubleheader game in his last start, a 9-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves June 20.
Wainwright has not faced the Pirates this season. He is 17-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 43 career outings against the Pirates, including 37 starts.
He has had success against Ben Gamel (0-for-7) and Kevin Newman (2-for-11), but not as much luck against Colin Moran (6-for-17, double, homer, four RBIs) and Frazier (6-for-25, three walks, two homers, three RBIs).
–Field Level Media