Pirates lose to Cardinals in 14 innings, 4-3

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 1:33 a.m.

ST. LOUIS – The Pirates should have had two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. But after Starling Marte dropped a routine fly ball, it was a much different story.

Instead, Daniel Descalso stood at second with one out and his St. Louis Cardinals trailing by one run. They tied the game to force extra innings and won it, 4-3, on a hit to left field by Adron Chambers off Jared Hughes (2-3) to score Jon Jay in the 14th inning on Tuesday at Busch Stadium.

“There are some hard lessons learned up here from time to time,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We got nicked for a run and had to play five more after that. At the end of the day, we weren't able to push a run across after the second, and we had multiple opportunities.”

The Pirates have lost four in a row after being swept in Colorado. It wasn't a good weekend for the Cardinals, either, losing two of three against the Chicago Cubs heading into another critical series between the National League Central foes.

Prior to Marte's drop, the Pirates were closing in on their seventh win in the past eight games against the Cardinals. Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run in the first inning off right-hander Adam Wainwright, and Jordy Mercer added a solo shot to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.

The Cardinals scored their only two runs off right-hander Charlie Morton in the sixth inning to make score 3-2.

After Descalso got to second in the ninth, closer Mark Melancon walked Carlos Beltran with one out, and Allen Craig singled to right. Beltran was out on the throw to third, but Descalso scored to tie the game.

Through a translator, Marte said he had a lot of confidence going for the ball — perhaps too much.

“He said he feels bad because it feels like it cost the game, and he doesn't want that to happen to anyone, but it happened to him,” translator Hebert Andrade said. “It was a hard part of his game tonight, but he's ready to move on.”

Both teams had chances to win the game in extra innings.

McCutchen led off the 13th with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and then to third on a Pedro Alvarez single to shallow center field. McCutchen stayed on third when Russell Martin grounded out to short, pitcher Seth Maness intentionally walked Clint Barmes to load the bases and Josh Harrison grounded into a double play.

“There's no outs, and it's first and third,” Hurdle said. “If you go contact right there and the ball's hit right at an infielder, you're going to be first and second with one out and the double play's in order. If a line drive's hit at somebody, it's at least a double play if not a triple play. So three things can happen, two of them are bad. We're just counting on our hitter to hopefully get a ball in the outfield, a sacrifice fly.”

The Pirates were 1 for 12 with runners on scoring position and left 11 on base. The Cardinals were 4 for 14 with runners in scoring position, left 17 on base and nearly finished the game off in the 10th, 11th and 13th innings.

After the Pirates left the go-ahead run at third in the 10th, Vin Mazzaro walked Matt Holliday to start the bottom half of the inning. Rob Johnson reached on an error by Gaby Sanchez, who pulled Mercer off the bag with the throw to second, and a sacrifice bunt by Jay put runners on second and third.

Mazzaro intentionally walked Chambers to load the bases, and the gamble paid off. Pete Kozma struck out, and Descalso flied out to leave them full.

Then, in the 11th, Matt Carpenter singled off Jeanmar Gomez, then went to second when a wild pitch got away from Russell Martin. Beltran grounded out and moved Carpenter to third, but with the Cardinals out of bench players, Gomez intentionally walked Craig to get to Maness. The Pirates went with a five-man infield, and it worked when they got a 6-9-3 double-play to send the game to the 12th.

The Pirates employed a similar tactic in the 13th. Carpenter doubled to Marte with two outs, and Gomez walked Beltran and then Craig intentionally to get to Maness, who struck out looking.

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