And, with Kyle Lohse pitching, securing the win and continuing the streak was no problem at all. The Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 behind seven-plus strong innings from K-Lo, who allowed six hits and the one run. He struck out five and walked none, joining Lance Lynn with a 3-0 record. They’re the only teammates in the majors to each have three wins.
The Cardinals found themselves in a deja vu situation in the first inning — a single by Rafael Furcal, excellent bunt single by Tyler Greene and walk to Matt Holliday loaded the bases with none out. Unlike last night against A.J. Burnett, however, the Cards were able to capitalize a bit off Erik Bedard when Carlos Beltran drove in a run while grounding into a double play. David Freese flied out to end the inning.
But Freese made up for that lack of timely hitting during his next at-bat. Furcal and Greene were again on base, at third and second respectively, when Freeser singled to right field. Both runs scored to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
It stayed the same until the bottom of the eighth, when Pirates catcher Michael McKenry led off the inning with a double. A single by pinch-hitter Casey McGehee allowed McKenry to score, while also chasing Lohse from the game. Mitchell Boggs replaced him, getting Nate McLouth to fly out to center and then starting a nice double play to end the inning.
The Cardinals added two more runs in the top of the ninth. Following a Shane Robinson walk, Skip Schumaker pinch-hit for Boggs — his first plate appearance of the year. And Skip promptly singled, which even brought cheers from his teammates in the dugout. Rafael Furcal was next, who singled for this third hit of the day to drive in Robinson. After a strikeout by Greene, Matt Holliday came through with a single to score Skip.
Kyle McClellan retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
A couple tidbits from the game:
- Jenifer Langosch reports that through the first six innings, Lohse threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of 22 batters. He finished the outing with 97 pitches thrown and has now allowed three earned runs, 16 hits and two walks in 27 1/3 innings.
- The series win, according to Joe Strauss, makes the Cardinals the first defending world champion since the 1922 New York Giants to open their title defense by capturing six consecutive series.
On the injury front, Jon Jay returned to St. Louis today to have his right shoulder examined. He was experiencing more soreness on Sunday, which you can read more about here.
The series win means the Cardinals will be taking a happy flight to Chicago, where they will face the Cubs for three games starting tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. Jaime Garcia will attempt to match K-Lo and Lynn record-wise, while Matt Garza goes for the Cubs.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.