The St. Louis Cardinals' win Saturday night over the Pittsburgh Pirates was every bit as impressive as it's lopsided loss the night before was disappointing.
Because the Redbirds were able to hang a loss on Francisco Liriano at PNC Park. It was only the second time in his career that he was beaten in Pittsburgh's home ballpark.
That's something that not only helps them today. It could be a sign that they have figured out one of the Pirates' most effective weapons against them.
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St. Louis batters collected four runs on seven hits in six innings against Liriano. The Cardinals scored three times in the first inning when Matt Carpenter singled, Jhonny Peralta walked and then Matt Holliday moved the runners up two bases on a hit. Carpenter scored and Peralta came home from third on a sacrifice fly from Allen Craig. Yadier Molina singled to drive in Holliday and the Cardinals never looked back.
Their three earned runs against Liriano in the first topped their total of earned runs scored against him all year in 2013: 2.
Kelly made it through 5 1/3 innings with six hits and four walks allowed while he struck out six. His only wound in the game was self-inflicted.
The only serious threat the Pirates could mount came in the bottom of the third when St. Louis starter Joe Kelly easily retired the first two hitters he faced before giving up a single and then issuing three consecutive walks to plate the Pirates only run. With the sacks jammed and the tying run at second base, Kelly coaxed Neil Walker to ground out to short and the danger passed.
Molina hit his second home in the sixth to make the score 4-1 and Peralta hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth to provide some insurance.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Molina was 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and a run driven in.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Kelly's third inning job to retire walker with the bases loaded.
Lowlight: Kelly's third inning meltdown was a bit disturbing. But at least he was able to right the ship.