Pirates-Cardinals rained out

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- The unveiling of the St. Louis Cardinals' new closer-by-committee will have to wait at least one more day.

The Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates were rained out Tuesday night at PNC Park. The game was called after a one-hour, 24-minute rain delay at the end of the second inning with the Pirates leading 4-2.

No makeup date was announced.

The teams will meet Wednesday night in what will be the finale of a two-game series, with rookie right-hander Shelby Miller (2-0, 1.46 ERA) starting for the Cardinals against A.J. Burnett (0-2, 3.71 ERA).

Manager Mike Matheny has decided to use multiple closers in light of the Mitchell Boggs' early-season struggles. Matheny said Tuesday that right-hander Edward Mujica would have gotten the call Monday night if a save situation materialized in St. Louis' 10-6 victory over the Pirates.

"We're going to play the matchups at the end of the game," Matheny said. "It's not the ideal way to go, but teams have done it before and had success."

Jason Motte earned all 42 of the Cardinals' saves last season, Matheny's first as the manager after replacing Tony La Russa, who retired. Motte is on the disabled list with a damaged elbow ligament, and the Cardinals fear he will need Tommy John reconstructive surgery.

"It was pretty easy as a rookie manager to get to the seventh inning and know we were going with Mujica in the seventh inning, Boggs in the eighth and Motte in the ninth," Matheny said. "That's not the case now. It's going to be a little tougher, but we'll make it work."

Boggs has blown two of his four save opportunities and has a 9.82 ERA and seven walks in 7 1/3 innings.

"Mitchell needs to get better command of his pitches," Matheny said. "Once that happens, I feel confident he will be back saving games for us."

Closer isn't an issue with the Pirates, as Jason Grilli is a perfect 5-for-5 in saves after last year serving as the setup man for Joel Hanrahan, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox in December.

However, right-handed starter James McDonald has the Pirates "perplexed," according to manager Clint Hurdle.

McDonald was battered by St. Louis on Monday, getting tagged for eight runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in 1 2/3 innings while walking two and striking out none. McDonald's velocity was also down, as it has been in each of his three starts this season.

McDonald says he is not injured.

"I've just pitched like poop," McDonald said. "My first three starts were like that last year, too. It took a while to get going."

McDonald was 9-4 with a 2.37 ERA in 17 starts before the All-Star break last season but 3-5 with a 7.52 ERA in 13 starts afterward. He is 1-2 with a 5.27 ERA so far this season.

NOTES: Before the rain came, St. Louis scored two runs in the top of the first inning off Jonathan Sanchez on an RBI single by Matt Holliday and a ground out by Yadier Molina. Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook, who is 0-5 against the Pirates in his career, was tagged for four runs in the bottom of the first. Garrett Jones, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez hit consecutive RBI singles, and Russell Martin drove in a run with a fielder's choice. However, rain wiped it all out. ... St. Louis leads the major leagues with a .395 batting average with runners in scoring position and a .431 average with runners in scoring position and two outs. ... Pittsburgh left fielder and leadoff hitter Starling Marte has gone 7-for-12 with a walk in the first inning this season. He is also on a nine-game hitting streak, which is the longest current streak in the National League. ... The Pirates selected the contract of right-hander Vin Mazzaro from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned right-hander Bryan Morris to the same club Tuesday.
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