Cardinals looking to push further in Pittsburgh

MLB

The St. Louis Cardinals are at .500 for the 22nd time this year, and they are in a place that might be conducive for them to carve out a little cushion over that break-even point.

St. Louis won a series opener Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and are 4-0 at PNC Park this year, with eight wins in a row there dating to last season.

Tuesday, the Cardinals gave up just one hit, a solo homer by Hoy Park.

“We’re at the point of the season where we have to do everything we can to win every game, absolutely win every series,” Paul DeJong, who homered Tuesday for St. Louis, said.

One note of interest for St. Louis is that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has made an error in two straight games after having none previously this season.

Sunday, it was a costly throwing error in a loss to Kansas City, prompting Cardinals manager Mike Shildt to liken seeing a Goldschmidt error to seeing Bigfoot.

Tuesday, he badly misjudged a pop-up that dropped, but because it was in foul territory, it did not turn out to be costly.

Pittsburgh has lost six straight overall and has reached a point where taking a look at young players and experimenting with the lineup are priorities.

Park no doubt impressed in both areas Tuesday, hitting his first major league homer, leading off for Pittsburgh for the sixth time and getting his first start at second base after playing shortstop and all three outfield spots.

“One of the things I’ve told our offensive players is, ‘Do not worry about where you hit in the lineup. Do not change who you are. That day is where we thought we had the best matchup,'” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said.

Shelton did predict one constant: Center fielder Bryan Reynolds, hitting .305 and leading the team with 19 homers and 65 RBIs, will remain third in the order.

Park, who has hit safely in seven of his first eight games with the Pirates, could be settling in atop the lineup.

“I don’t care where I play,” he said. “I just want to help the team win.”

St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright (10-6, 3.48 ERA) is expected to start Wednesday opposite Pittsburgh right-hander Wil Crowe (3-6, 5.47 ERA).

Wainwright has been a thorn in Pittsburgh’s side. He is 18-7 with a 4.10 ERA in 44 career games, 38 of them starts, against the Pirates.

In recent seasons, he has won five straight starts and each of his past seven decisions against Pittsburgh. His last loss against the Pirates was April 3, 2016.

Wainwright was dominant as usual against Pittsburgh on June 26, giving up one run and striking out eight in six innings of a 3-1 win.

Crowe’s two career starts (1-1) against the Cardinals have come this year.

He picked up his first major league win June 25 at St. Louis, giving up four runs in five innings. On May 2 at home, Crowe lost when the three runs he allowed came on Harrison Bader’s homer in the second.

He continues to leak runs in the early innings, yielding 26 runs in the first and second innings in 16 starts.

That was on display Crowe’s last time out, Thursday at Cincinnati. He reached 100 pitches for the first time in his career, but he gave up a solo homer in the first and two three-run homers in the second in a 7-4 Pittsburgh loss.

–Field Level Media

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