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Pirates Fall 7-4 After Cardinals Rough Up Mitch Keller

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Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Pittsburgh, Monday, April 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH—The Pirates fell 7-4 to the Cardinals on Tuesday, with St. Louis hitting a pair of homers to rough up starting pitcher Mitch Keller for six runs—five earned—in five innings.

Jack Suwinski and Andrew McCutchen each countered by smoking homers of their own, but the Pirates couldn’t mount a comeback. The loss kickstarts what could end up a critical series in the developing National League Wild Card race: St. Louis (44-40) sits in the third and final wild card spot, four games ahead of Pittsburgh (40-44).

The Cardinals opened a 2-0 lead in the third inning when right fielder Alec Burleson golfed a full-count fastball into the right field bleachers.

St. Louis threatened to blow the game open the following inning when second baseman Nolan Gorman crushed a grand slam to the notch in left-center. Pittsburgh eventually escaped the inning thanks to a perfect 9-6-2 exchange sparked by Connor Joe and Oneil Cruz, hosing Burleson at the plate.

The Pirates then worked a four-run fifth to chase Cardinals’ starter Kyle Gibson from the game and remain within striking distance. Rowdy Tellez got things started with a dribbling single to the no man’s land in front of third base. Nick Gonzales added a single, setting the table for a 448-foot missile of a home run from Suwinski that bounced into the Allegheny River.

Andrew McCutchen hit a solo shot two batters later, his twelfth home run of the season.

St. Louis tacked on another run in the seventh: Paul Goldschmidt doubled before scoring on a Brendan Donovan single.

Cardinals’ closer Ryan Helsley retired the side in the ninth inning to secure the save.

The series with the Cardinals continues at 6:40pm Wednesday, with Jared Jones (5-6, 3.66 ERA) slated to face Miles Mikolas (6-7, 5.32 ERA).

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