PITTSBURGH (AP)—The Pittsburgh Pirates found a way to come back from an early deficit this time around.
Jose Bautista and pinch-hitter Doug Mientkiewicz had RBI singles in the eighth inning to cap a rally from a four-run deficit in the first inning for a 7-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
It was the second win in a row after falling behind in the first inning for the Pirates, who found themselves in big deficits in five of the six games during a losing streak this modest win streak.
“During the six-game stretch we’ve had, (giving up) would have been very easy after falling behind like that,” said Jason Bay, who hit a two-run homer. “You still would like to have a game where we’re up 10-0 right off the get-go and cruise to a win, but we’ll take it. A win’s a win.”
“You could tell things weren’t really clicking for him early,” Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. “His command was off and he didn’t look like he was comfortable. But as the game went on, he seemed to get stronger. And that’s a great sign for a quality pitcher, that he’s able to fight through that and get stronger as the game goes on.”
With the game tied at 4 in the eighth, Ryan Doumit singled to lead off the inning and scored on a two-out single by Bautista, who’s batting .188 but has a hit in each of his past four starts. After Brian Bixler doubled to left, moving Bautista up to third, Mientkiewicz singled down the left-field line off Anthony Reyes (1-1) to make it 7-4.
“I was happy for Jose,” Mientkiewicz said. “In that situation, that hit goes a long way. I was really happy for Bautista. Of all of the guys that need one, he needed that one. Hopefully he goes home with a good feeling.”
The inning was made possible partly because of an errant throw by Reyes on a comebacker to the mound hit by Xavier Nady with Doumit at first and nobody out. Reyes’ throw for the forceout at second was too high for shortstop Aaron Miles, but second baseman Adam Kennedy was backing up. He caught the ball and threw Nady out at first.
Though not ruled an error, a double play on that would’ve likely allowed Reyes to make it through the inning unscathed.
“I turned around a little too quick,” Reyes said. “I didn’t see where they were; I just threw it, thinking they would be there.”
Miles, more of a second baseman by trade, was playing short due to an injury to starter Cesar Izturis.
“It looked like when he picked me up he stuck with me,” Kennedy said. “We still got an out. We could have got out of it. They just put some good swings together after that.”
Six of the Cardinals’ first seven batters reached base against Snell. Troy Glaus made it 2-0 with a double down the right-field line that scored Schumaker and Pujols, and two batters later, Kennedy’s single to center drove in Chris Duncan and Glaus.
Snell gave up eight hits, four walks and hit a batter while allowing four earned runs. He struck out one.
“That first inning, my mechanics … I was rushing myself and got out of control,” Snell said. “The next five, I just stayed focused. I could have easily gave up and just threw in the towel, but (veteran starter Matt Morris) talked to me and settled me down. And I got some outs. I didn’t have to necessarily strike everybody out or do anything outrageous. Just let them put the ball in play and get themselves out.”
While losing six in a row to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins in the past week, the Pirates fell behind by scores such as 9-1, 6-0, 7-0, 5-0 and 4-0 before coming back from a modest 1-0 first-inning deficit for a win Tuesday against Florida.
Todd Wellemeyer held Pittsburgh hitless through three innings, but the Pirates got back into it with a pair of runs in the fourth. The inning began with three consecutive singles, capped by Doumit’s run-scoring single. Nady followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Bay and made it 4-2.
Bay tied it in the fifth with his fourth home run.
Wellemeyer lasted six innings and was charged with four earned runs on seven hits and a walk, with five strikeouts.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, so I just went out there and played and battled and went six,” said Wellemeyer. “Gave us a chance to win.”
Due to an early evening thunderstorm, the game started at 7:15, 10 minutes later than scheduled. … Nady has a career-high 11-game hitting streak. … Bixler snapped an 0-for-16 string with his double.