ST. LOUIS -- With the sort of fastball-curveball mix Tyler Glasnow flashed on Thursday, the Pirates left Busch Stadium with visions of a promising future ahead for their top prospect. They did not, however, depart with an eighth straight win.
The No. 8 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com, Glasnow was making his Major League debut but found himself outpitched by veteran Adam Wainwright, who put an end to the Cardinals' three-game skid by playing stopper in a 5-1 victory. Homers from outfielders Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty provided the necessary support.
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"That's what we needed from our ace," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He was great. He came in with a plan of picking it up for us. You talk about having that stopper, having that guy who can stop one of those bad runs. Today was a great example of that."
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Wainwright matched his season high with nine strikeouts and improved to 8-5 with the 113-pitch, seven-inning outing. Wainwright blinked first, allowing a second-inning run, but the Cardinals' offense then made the most of the little they got against Glasnow.
Glasnow allowed three hits -- all of which turned into runs -- over 5 1/3 innings. His fourth-inning wild pitch also helped lift the Cardinals off the hook after it looked like they were going to waste a leadoff triple. A walk ended Glasnow's debut, and Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero let the sixth unravel further when, two pitches into his appearance, he served up a three-run homer to Piscotty.
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"I think my stuff didn't have as much bite to it, but it was definitely nice going out there and being able to control it," Glasnow said. "It was a really fun experience."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Progress report: Grichuk's return from a 15-game stint at Triple-A Memphis has gotten off to an encouraging start. Grichuk delivered a go-ahead homer off Glasnow in the fifth inning and singled again in the seventh. That gives the center fielder five hits in eight at-bats since he was recalled. Statcast™ tracked his homer at a projected 441 feet from the plate, Grichuk's second longest this season, and 106 mph off the bat.
"Nice to see just the quality at-bats Grichuk is taking," Matheny said. "You realize that once he gets into a good rhythm and he's seeing the ball and establishing the strike zone, the ball is going to jump. We need somebody to step up."
The Glasnow Experience: Within his first two batters of the game, Glasnow encapsulated his promise and potential room for growth. The 6-foot-8 right-hander walked leadoff man Greg Garcia, who then stole second base as Glasnow fanned Aledmys Diaz for his first big league strikeout. While Glasnow's high strikeout totals in the Minors captured fans' attention, his control issues led the Pirates to keep him in Triple-A for a little longer.
"Sometimes that first inning, they're trying to feel their way through it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Everybody's a little different. Once they realize they can get outs and their stuff plays, I think there's a freedom to that." More >
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Laying out: Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams prevented the Pirates from tying the game in the sixth by making a diving stop of Matt Joyce's sharp grounder down the line. Adams not only smothered the ball, which alone would have stopped Jung Ho Kang from scoring from second, he also recovered in time to flip the ball to Wainwright for the third out of the inning. Adams was making his first start at first base since July 1.
Self-defense: The Cardinals had a chance to pad their lead in the seventh, after Michael McKenry's sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position with one out. But ground-ball specialist Jared Hughes escaped the jam, albeit in somewhat uncharacteristic fashion. Garcia lined a 2-2 sinker back to the mound, and Hughes snared the ball right in front of his face to start an inning-ending double play.
"The ball just hit my glove," Hughes said. "I was right there. I didn't even see it. I just reacted. I was taught growing up to finish [my delivery] in a fielding position, so it kind of paid off right there."
"There's a whole bunch of good things that went on in this road trip. … There's a lot of positives." -- Hurdle, on his club's ability to close a road trip through Seattle, Oakland and St. Louis with a 7-2 record to move back above .500
"Obviously, losing Carp is going to be tough for us. Collectively, we've just got to do the small stuff to pick it up. Injuries are going to happen. … When they do, it's time for the other guys to step up and try to do the best job they can." -- Garcia, who reached twice as a leadoff replacement for injured second baseman Matt Carpenter
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SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Glasnow was the fourth Pirates player to make his Major League debut this year as a starting pitcher, joining Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl and Steven Brault. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last season in which Pittsburgh had at least four pitchers make their big league debut as a starter was 1903, when Kaiser Wilhelm, Bucky Veil, Gus Thompson, Jack Pfiester, Lew Moren and Doc Scanlan did so.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
It took a one-minute, 31-second replay review to credit Piscotty with his 11th home run of the season. Piscotty lined the second pitch of Caminero's appearance to right-center field and was initially credited with a two-run double. Replay, however, showed that the ball carried into the shrubbery just beyond the wall before caroming back into the outfield. The blast boosted the Cardinals' lead to four runs.
"I thought that there was a chance [it would leave the park], but the way the ball carries here and the way Diaz and [Tommy] Pham's balls hit the fence and came back like they have, I wasn't planning on it," Piscotty said.
Pirates: The Pirates will return home to finish out the first half, hosting the Cubs for three games at PNC Park starting with Friday's 7:05 p.m. ET contest, which will air on MLB Network and feature MLB Plus enhancements as well as famed hockey voice Mike "Doc" Emrick. Left-hander Francisco Liriano (5-8, 5.34 ERA) will start against Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, who has allowed four or more runs in each of his last two starts. Arrieta is 9-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 12 career starts against Pittsburgh.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will close out the first half in Milwaukee, where they'll begin a three-game series with a 7:10 p.m. CT game on Friday. Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.38 ERA) will be starting for the Cardinals, who haven't dropped a series to the Brewers since April 2014.
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