St. Louis’ current six-game trip began with the Cardinals dropping two of three in Houston. The Cardinals were swept in Cincinnati from May 5-8, and split a rain-shortened two-game set in Chicago on that same trip.
They have not won a road series since taking two of three at Florida from April 25-27.
Friday’s series opener in Pittsburgh also began miserably for the Cardinals.
But Scott Rolen delivered a game-tying, three-run homer in the ninth and J.D. Drew tripled home the go-ahead run in the 10th as St. Louis rallied for an improbable 10-8 victory over the struggling Pirates.
The Cardinals trailed 6-1 and 7-2 before getting two late-inning, three-run homers. Tino Martinez’s three-run blast in the eighth set the stage for Rolen’s dramatic homer.
“That’s why you’ve got to play it the whole way,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “If you give yourself a shot, sometimes you can pull it off. … It sounds corny, but if you play nine innings, you’re going to have a chance.”
The Pirates have lost 15 of 19 games, but none quite like Friday’s heartbreaking defeat.
“I’m sitting here and trying to figure out a way to describe this game,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I guess unbelievable fits as well as anything. It’s a devastating loss. I’ll probably lose a lot of sleep, if I ever fall asleep. This loss is as tough as it comes.”
Pittsburgh’s Kenny Lofton homered Friday to extend his hitting streak to 21 games, the NL’s longest this season. Jason Kendall also homered and drove in three runs and Aramis Ramirez had two RBIs for the Pirates.
The Pirates are an NL-worst 7-18 at home, and have lost 12 of their last 15 at PNC Park.
The Cardinals are 10-15 away from home. They had a 45-36 road mark last season.
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 3rd place, 1 1/2 GB, NL Central. Pirates - 5th place, 7 GB, NL Central.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Morris (5-3, 2.53 ERA). After winning just one of his first five starts, Morris has won four of five, including his best effort of the season on Monday. The right-hander tossed his first shutout of the season, scattering four hits, striking out eight and walking none in a 2-0 victory over the Cubs. Morris has made nine career starts against the Pirates, going 5-4 with a 1.97 ERA.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff Suppan (4-4, 3.32 ERA). After winning his first four decisions, Suppan has struggled. The right-hander has lost four of his last five starts, and is coming off his worst outing of the year. He lasted just four innings, allowing five runs and nine hits in an 8-6 loss at Arizona on Sunday. Suppan has made three career starts against St. Louis, going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Edgar Renteria, .341 avg. and 5 SBs.; Albert Pujols, 14 HRs, 38 RBIs and 40 runs. Pirates - Lofton, 301 avg., 28 runs and 9 SBs.; Reggie Sanders, 8 HRs; Randall Simon, 24 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - St. Louis is 14-3 in Pittsburgh since PNC Park opened in 2001. … Left-handed batters are hitting .185 against RHP Morris this season. … SS Renteria is 4-for-14 in his career against RHP Suppan. Pirates - C Kendall is 4-for-19 in his career against RHP Morris. … Right-handed batters are hitting just .185 against RHP Suppan this season. … OF Sanders is 0-for-10 in his career against RHP Morris.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 10-15 on the road; Pirates - 7-18 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 - OF Matt Stairs (finger), 15-day DL; 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.