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Pirates Break Through in 9th After Skenes’ Stellar Start to Beat Cardinals

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Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally cashed in during the top of the ninth inning to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 at Busch Stadium after a pitchers’ duel between Paul Skenes and Miles Mikolas on Tuesday night. 

The Pirates (32-34) loaded the bases with nobody against Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley (2-3). Connor Joe hit a liner to shortstop Masyn Winn, who knocked the ball down and fired home but couldn’t connect with catcher Pedro Pagés. Jack Suwinski scored from third to put the Pirates ahead 1-0.

Oneil Cruz followed the RBI fielder’s choice with a sacrifice fly to deep left field to tack on what turned out to be a massive insurance run.

David Bednar closed out the ninth with his 14th save and 13th conversion in a row despite allowing a leadoff homer to Nolan Gorman. The game looked over after it was ruled Iván Herrera struck out on a foul tip but St. Louis challenged and replay deemed it was catcher’s interference. 

The game continued, but Bednar struck out Michael Siani with two on for the final out.

Colin Holderman (2-0) was the winning pitcher after stranding a pair in the bottom of the eighth. 

Skenes was again masterful in the sixth start of his major-league career. The rookie right-hander worked into the seventh inning for the first time and set a career-high with 103 pitches.

Skenes tossed 6.1 scoreless innings and struck out eight batters. He allowed five hits and didn’t walk a batter. 

He escaped a big jam in the first inning. The Cardinals (31-34) had runners on the corners with one out and eventually two in scoring position with one out but two strikeouts and an inning-ending groundout prevented St. Louis from cashing in on their golden opportunity. 

Skenes was relieved after Nolan Arendao hit a soft-served double to left. Aroldis Chapman entered and retired both batters he faced. 

Mikolas carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and a no-hitter into the seventh. Yasmani Grandal drew a walk with one out in the sixth to give the Pirates their first baserunner. 

Bryan Reynolds led off the seventh inning with a triple off the center-field fence, which extended his hitting streak to nine games. He was stranded at third, however, as Cruz struck out before Ke’Bryan Hayes lined one to Arenado at third, who made a diving catch and tapped the base for an inning-ending double play.

Up Next

Bailey Falter (3-3, 3.69 ERA) will start for the Pirates in the second game of the series on Wednesday night. Veteran Sonny Gray (7-4, 3.21 ERA) will pitch for St. Louis. First pitch: 7:45 ET.

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