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Cards click early, unravel late in Bucs finale

Goldschmidt, Martinez hit two-run homers; Webb, Brebbia allow five runs in the seventh
May 12, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' offense rebounded, the defense shined and starter Dakota Hudson settled in after a rocky first inning. Most of the ingredients were there to send many of the 48,555 fans -- the largest crowd in Busch Stadium III history -- home happy on Mother’s Day. But

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' offense rebounded, the defense shined and starter Dakota Hudson settled in after a rocky first inning.

Most of the ingredients were there to send many of the 48,555 fans -- the largest crowd in Busch Stadium III history -- home happy on Mother’s Day. But the bullpen’s help was missing.

The Pirates batted around relievers Tyler Webb and John Brebbia for five runs in the seventh inning to come back for a 10-6 win over the Cardinals on Sunday. St. Louis lost for the third straight time, and after a 20-10 start to the season, they’ve lost nine of their past 11.

Box score

“I can confidently tell you that this is a group I have zero doubt about,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “It is the ebb and flow of the season. Again, I don’t want to overreact, and I don’t want to underreact and I want to stay true to that.”

Webb walked and hit the only two batters he faced to start the seventh. Brebbia, a righty, came on to face the switch-hitting Josh Bell, keeping him on the left side. Bell, who had already hit a double and two singles from the left side against Hudson, smashed a liner over the right-field wall to tie the game at 6.

Martinez credits his mom for his baseball career

“Wouldn’t mind if we flipped him over to the other side, but we got a leadoff walk and had a hit batter, and you want to react to what you’re seeing,” Shildt said. “And first and second is not ideal in a sense, but Brebbia’s been fine. He’s been one of our better guys all year and he’s been good against lefties too. ... It wasn’t as much about matchups, it was about stuff.”

Shildt called the outing Brebbia’s first misstep of the season.

“That’s a situation where you don’t want anything bad to happen, but I let probably everything bad happen that I could have,” Brebbia said.

Francisco Cervelli doubled and Melky Cabrera walked, then both came home on an Adam Frazier pinch-hit double to give Pittsburgh the lead. Brebbia, who gave up three of the five runs, had only allowed one run in his previous nine appearances.

“I’d like a few pitches back,” Brebbia said. “I’d like to trade some balls for strikes. I’d like to trade some hits for outs. I’d like to have Inspector Gadget arms so that I could reach up and stop everything. There’s a lot of things. When you make bad pitches to guys who are taking good swings, it’s not going to be good for the pitcher.”

The Pirates tacked on two more runs with Colin Moran’s double against Giovanny Gallegos in the eighth.

The bullpen issues erased early work by the Cardinals’ bats against Pittsburgh starter Steven Brault, as they scored four times in the first and two more in the second, Two-run homers by Paul Goldschmidt and Jose Martinez powered the outburst.

But that was it offensively, as Brault and four Pirates relievers combined to hold the Cardinals scoreless through the final seven innings. Chris Stratton earned the decision with a scoreless sixth, a day after Pittsburgh acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for cash.

“We had some guys on. We weren’t able to add on once we had that lead, but we had some chances there, just weren’t able to come through,” Goldschmidt said.

The quick offensive burst by the Cardinals erased Hudson’s first-inning struggles. He allowed three runs in a 31-pitch first, but held the Pirates off the scoreboard for the next five innings. The right-hander went six innings, gave up nine hits, struck out two and walked two.

The defense also shined. Goldschmidt made a slick snag of a Cole Tucker liner to prevent further damage in the first inning. Marcell Ozuna threw out Bell at home to end the third with a perfect throw to Yadier Molina. Yairo Muñoz made a nice running catch while running into the center-field wall to rob Starling Marte of extra bases in the sixth.