ST. LOUIS -- Josh Harrison may spend much of his remaining time with the Pirates as he did the past week and a half: in the dugout, resting his sore left hamstring, looking on as the club evaluates its middle-infield options for next year and beyond.But Harrison was not content
ST. LOUIS -- Josh Harrison may spend much of his remaining time with the Pirates as he did the past week and a half: in the dugout, resting his sore left hamstring, looking on as the club evaluates its middle-infield options for next year and beyond.
But Harrison was not content to watch on Monday night at Busch Stadium. Making his first start of September, Harrison clubbed a home run that put the Pirates back on top after an off night -- one bad inning, really -- for Trevor Williams. But the Cardinals rallied for an 8-7 win, as Matt Adams launched a three-run homer during an equally unusual misstep by reliever Edgar Santana.
"Offensively, I thought we did some very good things," manager Clint Hurdle said. "One of the rare nights we didn't do the things we wanted to do off the mound."
The loss ended the Pirates' five-game winning streak and pushed them back below .500 with 19 games remaining this season.
"They've been so good all year," third baseman Colin Moran said of Williams and Santana. "Nobody's perfect. Every once in a while, you have a bad one, but obviously the body of work -- what they've done -- is really impressive."
Williams retired the first nine hitters he faced before giving up four runs, as many as he allowed in his previous nine starts combined, during a seven-batter stretch in the fourth. Marcell Ozuna put the Cardinals on the board with a one-out RBI single to left, Paul DeJong laced a two-run double to center, and Harrison Bader tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
"A multiple-run inning we haven't seen in a long time," Hurdle said.
Williams entered the night with a 0.72 ERA in the second half, lower than the record-setting mark Jacob Arrieta posted after the All-Star break in 2015, but that figure climbed to 1.32 as Williams worked five innings against the Cardinals.
"It was a fun run. A new run starts next start," Williams said. "I have three starts left, and I'm going to continue to give my best every five days, put up zeros and give the team a chance to win."
Still, the Pirates were in position to win after Harrison -- making his first start since Aug. 31 -- lined a go-ahead homer to center in the sixth off left-hander Chasen Shreve. Harrison had started only two of the club's 17 games since Aug. 19, the day he aggravated the hamstring injury he sustained just before the All-Star break.
"It felt good to be back out there. It's been a while," Harrison said. "We fell short, but at the end of the day, man, I was just glad to be out there with my guys."
Adam Frazier added an RBI single to center, and the Bucs put the game in the hands of their well-rested bullpen. Kyle Crick worked a scoreless sixth, and Richard Rodriguez struck out two in the seventh to preserve a two-run lead.
The Pirates have given setup man Keone Kela a week off to manage his workload, so in came Santana. Santana has quietly been one of the most dependable late-inning relievers in front of closer Felipe Vazquez this season, but the Cardinals got to him quickly on Monday.
Santana walked Matt Carpenter, gave up a single to Jose Martinez and uncorked a wild pitch with Adams at the plate. Santana hung a high, 2-1 slider that Adams launched into the right-field seats. Santana left the game without recording an out.
"He hasn't had many of those this year, either," Hurdle said. "An unfortunate sequence there in three hitters."
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Carlos Martinez's third save of the season wasn't complete until a 31-second review confirmed that a throw from shortstop DeJong had beaten Francisco Cervelli to first base. With the potential tying run on second, DeJong prevented Cervelli's chopper from getting through the infield. Then, knowing the speed of the runner, he took time to set his feet before throwing across the field. First baseman Carpenter snared the ball on a hop, beating Cervelli by a half-step.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With a little help from his friend: To contend next season, the Pirates likely will need more consistent power from their lineup -- particularly from Moran and first baseman Josh Bell. After homering in each of his previous two games, Bell continued to drive the ball on Monday, going 3-for-5 with a double.
Moran went 2-for-4 and hit his first homer since July 1, ending a drought that lasted 52 games and 162 plate appearances with a second-inning solo shot to center off Adam Wainwright, who was making his first Cardinals start since May 13 after returning from the disabled list. What was the key?
"I don't know. I just grabbed Frazier's bat and it worked," Moran said. "You been watching him? He's been raking. Seeing if it would work, and it worked."
HE SAID IT
"I'm just thankful I'm not pitching against the Cardinals again for the rest of the year. Six starts is tough. They're a great ballclub. I wish them nothing but success going into October."-- Williams, on facing the Cardinals for the sixth time in 28 starts
"He worked really hard when he was off, and it was one of the reasons I wanted to get him back engaged. He worked hard. There's opportunity still for him to go out and help us do some things, and he showed that ability tonight. He stayed connected. He stayed engaged. It was nice to see him get that swing off."-- Hurdle, on Harrison
Right-hander Joe Musgrove (6-8, 3.75 ERA) will start for the Pirates as they continue their series against the Cardinals at 8:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Busch Stadium. Musgrove, who has completed six innings in nine of his past 11 starts, will line up against Cards righty Miles Mikolas (14-4, 3.06 ERA). To honor and remember those who were affected by the tragedies that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, all on-field personnel will wear special caps during the game.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.