The Pittsburgh Pirates stretched their losing streak to eight with a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of their doubleheader on Tuesday, June 14. Buccos starter JT Brubaker threw 106 pitches on a scorching afternoon, giving up three runs across 5.1 innings and striking out five St. Louis batters.
The Pirates had chances at an early lead, putting a runner on second with no outs in the second and third innings, but Cardinals’ rookie Matthew Liberatore, who pitched five scoreless, fought back to retire the side each time.
Paul Goldschmidt, serving as the Cardinals’ designated hitter, hit his second home run in as many days to take a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
Pirates shortstop Diego Castillo committed throwing errors on back-to-back plays in the fourth, and second baseman Nolan Gorman loaded the bases with a walk. Goldschmidt hit into an inning-ending 6-4-2-5-6-2 fielders choice play, but not before another run scored.
Brubaker got the hook with two on and one out in the sixth following another throwing error by Castillo. Tyler Beede replaced him and walked the bases loaded, but escaped with a called strike three on a full count pitch to Gorman before inducing a Goldschmidt groundout. Beede pitched 2.2 innings to finish the game, allowing the Pirates to preserve their bullpen for the nightcap.
Second baseman Yu Chang broke the shutout in the seventh with his first home run of the season, a solo shot off of lefty Genesis Cabrera.
Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley entered in the eighth to attempt a five-out save, but each batter he faced worked a full count as he struggled to find the strike zone. Bryan Reynolds drew a walk, but Ke’Bryan Hayes and Daniel Vogelbach struck out to end the inning.
Pirates outfield prospect Canaan Smith-Njigba pinch-hit for Chang and slugged a two-out double off of Giovanny Gallegos in his major league debut, but Gallegos hung on to record the save. Catcher Jason Delay made his MLB debut and walked in the third inning.
The Pirates are now 24-36 on the season. Their series with the Redbirds continues at 7:45pm, with Pittsburgh’s Bryse Wilson (0-3, 7.54 ERA) facing off against St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas (4-4, 2.93 ERA).