It’s been a long time since the Pirates were able to do any damage against Adam Wainwright. The last time the Pirates won a game he pitched for the Cardinals was over three years ago. The last time he took the loss against the Pirates? That would be 2016 — six years ago.
Wainwright’s dominance over the Pirates continued in the Cardinals 5-3 win over the Bucs at PNC Park on Friday. The 40-year-old tossed seven innings, allowed just one run on four hits, walked three and picked up three punch outs.
The only blemish for Wainwright was a seventh-inning homer hit by Michael Chavis, his second hit of the game.
— Los Piratas (@piratasbeisbol) May 21, 2022
Prior to the Chavis homer, Wainwright had tossed 38.1 straight scoreless innings against the Bucs, and yes, you read that right. That’s a span of over four nine-inning games in total.
The Cardinals scored an unusual run to begin the game. Jack Suwisnki caught a shallow fly ball in right and the throw went home, but was cut off by Chavis. Paul Goldschmidt, who was standing on first, got stuck in a rundown long enough to allow Tommy Edman to score on the play, putting St. Louis up 1-0.
Zach Thompson had another strong start on the mound, giving him three straight good outings. He worked five innings, allowed just the one run, five hits, one walk and a pair of strikeouts. If Thompson is able to pitch more like he did in 2021 with the Marlins, the Bucs rotation will get a boost.
The Cardinals broke through in the sixth against the Pirates bullpen. With the bases loaded, Dylan Carlson recorded an RBI single, and one batter later, Yadier Molina lined a two-run double to left. Harrison Bader followed with a run-scoring single of his own, and the Cardinals found themselves up five runs.
The Pirates plated a pair in the seventh thanks to an RBI-single from Bryan Reynolds and an RBI for Yoshi Tsutsugo, who bounced into a fielder’s choice, cutting the deficit to 5-3, but the Pirates rally fell short. Pittsburgh falls to 16-22 on the year.
The middle game of the three game set will be on Saturday night. It will be a battle of the southpaws as Jose Quintana (1-1, 2.19 ERA) will go against Matthew Liberatore, who is making his Major League debut.
- ZT’s Last Three: Over his last three starts, Thompson has only given up one earned run over 16 innings (0.56 ERA). For comparison, the right-hander had an ERA over 10.00 in his first four starts. In his current three-game stretch, he’s only allowed eight hits and four free passes and has looked much more comfortable on the mound. Thanks to his strong run, he’s lowered his season ERA from 9.39 to 4.88.
- A Modest Three-Gamer: After going hitless in five straight games, Reynolds extended his hitting streak to three games after a first-inning single. Reynolds has five hits over than span and has been on base six times. After a prolonged slump to start the season, maybe Reynolds is finally regaining his form from last season. The Pirates offense need the boost from their 2021 All-Star as the Bucs have been quiet with the bats for much of May.
- Chavis Is Sizzling: With two more hits on the night, including a home run, Chavis continued his red-hot stretch at the plate. With the pair of hits, Chavis has now recorded at least one hit in seven of his last eight games. Over that span, he’s hitting .440 with a pair of doubles, a triple and a home run. The Pirates offense has struggled on the season but especially in the month of May. Chavis has been a bright spot in the lineup during this down stretch and on the season as a whole.