The St. Louis Cardinals continue to struggle to score runs. Fortunately, on Friday night they were matched up against a Pittsburgh Pirates club that also forgot where it stored its offense over the winter.
Shelby Miller, who has been abused by Pirates hitters in his brief career, hurled six shutout innings and the bullpen made it stand up for a 1-0 win. But the victory didn't come without some drama.
Carlos Martinez came into the game in the eighth inning and promptly hit the first man he faced and then gave up a single to the second to put runners on the corners with no outs. The lead-off man, Starling Marte got caught in a rundown between third base and the plate for the first out. But Martinez seemed like he would refuse the gift when he uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third with one down.
Nate McCutchen was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring up Cardinals killer Pedro Alverez. Martinez then settled and struck out Alverez and Chris Stewart to end the threat.
Matt Holliday drove in the only Redbirds run of the game, a double that scored Matt Carpenter in the first.
While St. Louis didn't score many runs, they saw signs of life from their hitters. Holliday had a hit in each of his three at-bats plus a walk as he raised his batting average to .271 for the season. Jhonny Peralta had a pair of hits to raise his average to .169 -- but he could have had a third hit on a rocket to third base that was fielded cleanly and then thrown away. Allen Craig hit three balls hard but had nothing to show for it.
Trevor Rosenthal had his best relief appearance of the season so far, striking out the side in an uneventful ninth inning. He notched his seventh save in seven tries and lowered his ERA to 5.56.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Holliday
Cardinals Play of the Game: Peralta started a pair of nifty double plays. But the more key one came with the bases loaded and McCutchen at the plate in the third. He dove to his left and picked the ball to save the precarious lead.
Lowlight: Craig's 0-for-4 night drug his average down to .170. Hopefully, some of his liners will start to drop in soon.