Buctober opened with a whimper this year as the St. Louis Cardinals drubbed the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-3 on Saturday night.
Rookie right-hander Luis Ortiz recorded just two outs as the Cardinals opened a 6-0 lead.
Ortiz (0-2) allowed a leadoff double to second baseman Brendan Donovan and issued three walks which sandwiched a two-run single by Albert Pujols. Former Pirate Corey Dickerson smashed a grand slam, and Zach Thompson replaced Ortiz after a pop out by Yadier Molina.
Oritz had posted a sparkling 1.17 ERA in his first three major league starts.
Left fielder Miguel Andújar and first baseman Diego Castillo responded with a single and double off Cardinals lefty Jordan Montgomery (9-6) to put runners in scoring position. Catcher Jason Delay hit a grounder off the glove of shortstop Paul DeJong to make it 6-2.
Then it was the Cardinals’ turn to answer quickly. Thompson and second baseman Rodolfo Castro botched the exchange on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the second. Instead, the Cardinals increased their lead to 10-2.
Nolan Arenado doubled in a run, and right fielder Alec Burleson added a two-run single, Molina hit a line drive that bounced off Castro’s glove to score a run, but Castro still managed to begin a 4-6-5 double play, and a streak of 14 consecutive retired batters by Thompson.
Montgomery cruised through six innings, allowing two more base runners.
Junior Fernandez walked the bases loaded in the seventh, but managed to escape without allowing a run, in his Pirates’ debut. He was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to the game and became the 67th player to appear for the Pirates this season, extending the club record.
Cal Mitchell led off the eighth with a double against Steven Matz. He came around to score on an E6 by DeJong that drew the Pirates within 10-3.
Andújar hit a high fly ball that fell into Dickerson’s glove on the warning track to end the inning.
Dylan Carlson hit a two-run single off Manny Bañuelos in the eighth, and another Cardinals’ run scored on an E1 that made it 13-3.
Pittsburgh (59-99) will play to avoid a three-game sweep against St. Louis (92-66) at 2:15 p.m.. ET Sunday.
Roansy Contreras (5-5, 3.72 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Pirates against Adam Wainwright (11-11, 3.51 ERA).