Shelby Miller fell to 0-5 Friday as the Cardinals were embarrassed 12-2 at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Miller, who was held to one inning in the National League division series against Pittsburgh 2013 and then shut down for the rest of the post season, was hit hard early and often. Then the bullpen came in and poured a whole barrel of gasoline on the fire.
The Redbirds found themselves down 3-0 in the fourth inning after Miller gave up his third solo home run of the game, two to Pedro Alvarez. Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer to get St. Louis back into the game. But before the Cardinals could get any closer, Pittsburgh tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 6-2 and there was a sense that the game was out of reach.
Miller departed with five earned runs allowed on six hits and three walks. He struck out only two.
The bullpen allowed six runs on nine hits over the last 2 1/3 innings. Seth Maness somehow allowed only one run with four hits and a walk allowed in an 1 1/3 innings. Keith Butler was hammered for five earned runs on five hits in one inning.
Pittsburgh's crowd seemed to really enjoy the thrashing. Maybe it was bitterness over the Cardinals beating the Bucs in the post season last year. Maybe it was the enthusiasm over the improved Pirates or the excitement of the new season. But there was an obvious buzz in the crowd and fans cheered loudly throughout despite the fact that a long rain delay and a lopsided score seemed to thin out the audience as the game went on.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Matt Carpenter had two hits in three at-bats including a homer and two RBIs.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Carpenter's homer.
Lowlight: The dismal work of the pitching staff.