Pittsburgh’s woes at home continued with a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
The Pirates split their rain-shortened two-game set with Chicago, and have yet to win any of their eight series this season at PNC Park, where they are just 7-17.
Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon believes the Pirates’ problems at home can easily be reversed with one good series or homestand.
“We’ve played only (24) games at home,” he said. “If we run off five, six, seven in a row, all that’s forgotten. I’m not happy with our home record, but at the same time I don’t want (24) games to identify the rest of the season.
Thursday’s loss was the Pirates 12th in 16 games overall.
St. Louis is coming off a 5-2 loss at Houston on Thursday. Albert Pujols belted his team-leading 14th home run in the defaet, and has homered in five of his last six games.
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 3rd place (tied), 2 1/2 GB, NL Central. Pirates - 5th place, 7 GB, NL Central.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Jason Simontacchi (1-3, 6.98 ERA). The right-hander is winless in his last three starts, but is coming off a solid effort last Friday. Simontacchi allowed three runs and four hits over six innings, but didn’t receive a decision in the Cardinals’ 6-3 win over the Cubs. Lack of control has been a problem for the right-hander all season, as he’s walked 21 and struck out 21 in 40 innings. Simontacchi has made three career starts against the Pirates, going 2-0 with a 5.21 ERA.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Salomon Torres (3-1, 4.31 ERA). Despite struggling through his worst performance of the season—allowing five runs and eight hits over five innings—Torres earned the victory in Pittsburgh’s 8-5 win at Arizona on Saturday. He has made three career starts against the Cardinals, going 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA.
2002 SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 11-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - Left-handed batters are hitting .213 against RHP Simontacchi this season. … St. Louis has taken seven of the last eight meetings with Pittsburgh. … The Cardinals, in a stretch in which they play 20 games in 21 days, rested OFs J.D. Drew and Jim Edmonds on Thursday. Pirates - OF Giles is 4-for-6 with two home runs and three RBIs in his career against RHP Simontacchi. … RHP Torres has allowed six home runs in his last 15 1-3 innings. … 3B Aramis Ramirez is hitting .400 (4-for-10), with three doubles, a home run and three RBIs in his career against RHP Simontacchi.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 9-15 on the road; Pirates - 7-17 at home.
INJURIES: Cardinals - C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Isringhausen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (pelvis), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL; C Joe Girardi (back), 60-day DL. Pirates - RHP Josh Fogg (abdominal), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Lincoln (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; IF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; IF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL.