MLB Baseball

6
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
St. Louis2 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 690
Pittsburgh8 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 x 11142
11
  W: G. Cole (12-11)   L: L. Lynn (11-8)
4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, September 23, 2017
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 29,672

Pirates hit Cardinals with 8-run first in 11-6 win

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- PITTSBURGH -- A breakout on offense allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates to put a little dent in the St. Louis Cardinals' push for a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh used an eight-run first inning Saturday and pounded out 14 hits for an 11-6 win at PNC Park

"Good to get the win and get our offense out of a little log jam and score a bunch of runs, give our pitchers a little break and it was a good win all the way around," said Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer, who was 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs.

"It was just what we needed."

It was not what the Cardinals needed.

St. Louis (81-73), which had its winning streak stopped at four, fell a half-game behind second-place Milwaukee and remained five behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central,

The Cardinals were 1 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot after Colorado also lost on Saturday.

David Freese added three RBIs and Starling Marte added two RBIs for Pittsburgh (70-85), which is reduced to a spoiler role.

The eight-run first, when Pittsburgh sent 12 players to the plate and took an 8-2 lead, was highlighted by Mercer's two-run triple, Marte's RBI triple, Freese's leadoff double and four singles.

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn (11-8) was charged with all eight runs, six that crossed the plate while he was on the mound and two that Josh Lucas inherited.

Lynn's pitching line was like something from a nightmare -- eight runs and six hits with two walks and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. He has one win in his past nine starts.

"There was a couple balls up, and then a couple things didn't go my way," Lynn said. "Unfortunately, that happens some nights. Usually, I'm able to get through it. Tonight it just kind of snowballed.

"It's that time of year where you feel good. I'm just happy I feel good, but I've got to hone it back in and make quality pitches."

Pittsburgh bumped its lead to 10-3 through five innings before St. Louis scored three in the sixth -- including tying a major league record by using six pinch hitters in the inning -- to close to 10-6.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wasn't conceding the game by using all the subs.

"We've got a group of guys (on the bench) that have been working really hard," he said. "Get a couple young guys in there, give (others) a little time off, but also give them an opportunity, and they made something happen."

Freese added an RBI double in the eighth to make it 11-6.

Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole (12-11) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts to break an 0-3 streak at home. He had received just five runs of support in his previous five starts, totaling 32 innings, but had plenty Saturday to help overshadow a game in which he struggled a little.

"He's done that throughout the year," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's made the next pitch, faced the next batter. There hasn't been any overreaction."

St. Louis' first inning looked promising with Tommy Pham hitting his 22nd homer, a two-run shot to dead center, but that was dwarfed by what the Pirates did in the bottom of the inning.

Pittsburgh's key hit that inning came from Mercer. He stepped to the plate with a 3-2 lead, the bases loaded and one out. He looped the ball into shallow center, where Dexter Fowler raced in and dived forward but missed, letting the ball get behind him.

"He's got to try and catch it, so he made a good effort," Matheny said. "Unfortunately, it ended up clearing the bases."

It appeared that Mercer might have a shot at an inside-the-park grand slam, but he had to hold up at third with a still-impressive bases-clearing triple.

"Definitely was thinking about it," Mercer said of the slam.

The Cardinals made it 8-3 on Pham's RBI double in the third, but Pittsburgh answered in the bottom of the third against Adam Wainwright when Marte's sacrifice fly made it 9-3.

The Pirates reached double figures in the fifth on Mercer's RBI double, making it 10-3 before St. Louis drew a little closer.

"They were pretty locked in throughout the whole game," Cole said of the Cardinals. "They made it tough for us. Fortunately, we just scored more than they did."

NOTES: St. Louis 1B Jose Martinez, who left Friday in the seventh because of a sprained left thumb, had tests in St. Louis that showed no serious damage, manager Mike Matheny said. ... Matt Carpenter moved from 3B to 1B for the Cardinals, with Jedd Gyorko returning to his normal spot at 3B. ... Pittsburgh OF Jordan Luplow was named the organization's minor league player of the year and LHP Steven Brault the minor league pitcher of the year.

Updated September 23, 2017

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