Dillon Peters gave up three runs in the fifth, and Pirates couldn’t come back from the deficit, losing 4-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Peters cruised through his first four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth, when Edmundo Sosa and Harrison Bader hit back-to-back doubles to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead and then Tommy Edman hit his eighth home run of the season, scoring Bader and giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
The Pirates chipped away, starting with an RBI triple by Yoshi Tsutsugo that scored Jacob Stallings in the fifth.
In the sixth, the Pirates loaded the bases on a Colin Moran walk, Stallings single and Tsutsugo walk, but they could only score on a Kevin Newman RBI walk, as Anthony Alford struck out with three aboard.
Edman added a sacrifice fly against Duane Underwood Jr. in the seventh, which became a critical insurance run when Moran drove in Michael Chavis with a single in the eighth.
The Pirates came close to completing the comeback, but Moran was called out at home after Newman singled to Bader in center.
Peters had allowed just five earned runs in his first two starts combined over 14.2 innings, and seemed well on the way to making it three solid starts in a row since joining the Pirates before running into trouble in the fifth. His ERA rose from 1.96 to 3.07 on the season.
Underwood had a streak of six straight appearances over 11.1 innings without an earned run allowed snapped. The durable Pirates’ reliever has gone more than one inning in 10 straight outings and has given up an earned run in just two of them.
Tsutsugo finished 1 for 3 with his triple and a walk, raising his wRC+ while with the Pirates north of 250. It’s just been 26 plate appearances for the Japanese first baseman and outfielder, but it has been a very strong start to his Pittsburgh tenure. There should be plenty of playing time available for him down the stretch if he continues to rake, without a solidified option in left or right field at this point, though his outfield play continues to be an adventure.
Alford had just a so-so night at the plate, going 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, including his bases-loaded whiff in the sixth. But he also performed a relatively rare feat. After singling to lead off the ninth, he stole second off St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina, who doesn’t give up very many stolen bases.