Pirates face Cardinals, look to continue surge

Wed Jun 12 7:29am ET
Field Level Media

The Pittsburgh Pirates have won five of their past seven games to move into second place in the National League Central.

Next, the Pirates will look to move within one game of .500 on Wednesday night when they play the second contest of their three-game series against the host St. Louis Cardinals.

Pittsburgh scratched for a pair of runs in the ninth inning and held on for a 2-1 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday. Jack Suwinski scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Connor Joe, and Andrew McCutchen scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Oneil Cruz for the Pirates.

"Any way possible, right?" Joe told SportsNet Pittsburgh. "... Sometimes it's gonna be like that. Sometimes it's gonna come down to the ninth inning. We're gonna have to work a walk, a base hit by 'Cutch and another a walk. Luckily, Cruz and I were able to get the job done, and it was just enough today."

Bryan Reynolds ripped a triple to end Miles Mikolas' no-hit bid in the seventh inning on Tuesday. Reynolds is 13-for-37 with one homer, five RBIs and five runs during a nine-game hitting streak.

Nick Gonzales had a double for one of the Pirates' three hits on Tuesday. He is 8-for-23 with one homer and seven RBIs over his past six games.

Pittsburgh left-hander Bailey Falter (3-3, 3.69 ERA) will look to rebound from a disastrous outing when he takes the mound on Wednesday opposite St. Louis right-hander Sonny Gray (7-4, 3.21).

Falter allowed five runs on eight hits -- including two homers -- in four-plus innings of an 11-7 setback to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Falter appeared to recover after the Dodgers batted around in the first inning, but his leadoff homer to Teoscar Hernandez in the fifth ended his night.

"In the first inning of the game, he just missed too many balls down in the middle of the plate," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of the four-run frame. "... He did kind of bounce back and readjusted his sight."

Falter is 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in three career appearances (one start) against the Cardinals.

Falter will need to tread carefully around Alec Burleson, Nolan Arenado and Nolan Gorman. Burleson collected three hits Tuesday to boost his total to 12 over his past nine games, while Arenado has recorded back-to-back two-hit performances.

As for Gorman, he hit his team-leading 15th homer in the ninth inning on Tuesday. St. Louis was unable to muster anything else and fell for the seventh time in its past 11 games.

Gray has answered a three-game winning streak by losing his past two starts. He combined to permit seven runs and issue seven walks in 9 2/3 innings over those outings.

"I'm trending in the wrong direction," Gray said. "I've got to come up with a plan and get back on track. Off the top of my head, I feel like I've got to go back to the basics."

Gray is 4-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 10 career appearances (nine starts) vs. the Pirates.

PIT LogoPittsburgh Pirates
STL LogoSt. Louis Cardinals

Wed Jun 12 7:45pm ET