Pirates win third in a row
PITTSBURGH – Neil Walker had three hits, including a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning, and drove in four runs to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 Friday night.
Walker’s seventh homer came off Carlos Martinez (0-2) and rallied the Pirates from a 4-3 deficit for their third straight victory. Jordy Mercer and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez led off the inning with singles and were bunted up a base by Jose Tabata before Walker hit a drive into the right-field stands.
Mercer had three of the Pirates’ 12 hits, while Ike Davis, who hit a two-run double in the first inning to open the scoring, and Tabata had two hits apiece. Pittsburgh beat St. Louis for the 10th time in 13 games at home.
St. Louis had gone ahead earlier in the seventh on Jhonny Peralta’s solo home run, his eighth. Allen Craig’s three-run home run, his fourth, accounted for the Cardinals’ other runs.
Peralta and Craig had two hits apiece in the Cardinals’ second loss in five games.
Justin Wilson (1-0) struck out the only batter he faced, Matt Adams, to end the top of the seventh. Mark Melancon, filling as the closer for injured Jason Grilli, pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.
Both starting pitchers worked five innings and had uneven performances. Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano allowed three runs, five hits and four walks while striking out five, while St. Louis’ Michael Wacha gave up three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Liriano has gone a career-long 11 regular-season starts without a win since beating the Texas Rangers last Sept. 10. Wacha, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in October while beating the Pirates in Game 4 of their National League Division Series, is winless in his last five starts.
The Pirates pulled into a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning when Tabata hit a one-out double and scored on Walker’s single.
Craig’s home run, his fourth, put the Cardinals ahead 3-2 in the fourth, after Davis had put the Pirates ahead 2-0. Craig entered the game 2 for 20 with six strikeouts in May.
The Pirates have averaged 5.3 runs a game in winning five of their last seven games after scoring a total of 16 runs while going 1-7 in their previous eight games.
NOTES: The game was delayed 25 minutes in the top of the fourth inning because of rain. . Pirates OF Travis Snider’s appeal of his two-game suspension for his actions in an April 20 brawl were upheld and he began serving his penalty Friday night. . The Cardinals recalled OF Joey Butler from Triple-A Memphis and optioned OF Randal Grichuk to the same club. . Pittsburgh recalled INF Brent Morel from Triple-A Indianapolis.
They had optioned RHP Phil Irwin to Indianapolis on Thursday.
Grilli threw from the top of the mound Friday for the first time since April 21 when the closer went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. . Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (4-1, 3.51) will start Saturday night against RHP Edinson Volquez (1-3, 4.19).