Pirates, Volquez shut out by Cardinals
ST. LOUIS — The Pirates are still seeking an antidote for their collective batting funk. Sunday, they turned out to be the solution for the struggles that had been bedeviling the St. Louis Cardinals.
Powered by two home runs from Jhonny Peralta, the Cardinals routed the Pirates, 7-0.
It was only the 13th time in 26 games that the Cardinals scored more than two runs. The beneficiary of the offensive explosion was right-hander Adam Wainwright, who became the first five-game winner in the majors this season.
The Cardinals had gone 366 at-bats without homering until the fifth inning, when Peralta led off with a 427-foot solo shot to left field. That broke up St. Louis' longest power outage since August 1997, when they went 389 at-bats between home runs.
It took just nine at-bats for the Cardinals to go deep again. Peralta's three-run homer in the sixth knocked right-hander Edinson Volquez (1-2) out of the game.
Volquez (1-2) worked 5 2⁄3 innings and allowed six runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.
The Pirates were shut out in two of three games against the Cardinals and dropped their fifth consecutive series. The Pirates rank among the bottom five in the National League in batting average (.221), on-base percentage (.296) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.647).
“We know right where we stand,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We've got to find a way to get more runs on the board.”
That's never easy to do against Wainwright (5-1), who has not allowed a run in 25 innings. Over eight innings Sunday, he allowed three hits, none of them particularly well-struck.
“He mixes his pitches very well,” said Ike Davis, who went 0 for 3 and accounted for one of Wainwright's seven strikeouts. “Everything's moving different ways. We hit some balls hard that were caught. That's the way the game goes sometimes.”
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Matt Carpenter doubled, went to third base on a ground out and scored on Matt Holliday's sacrifice fly.
The Pirates seemed to be in business in the third inning. Tony Sanchez squibbed an infield single — extending his hitting streak to eight games — and Volquez blooped a hit into shallow center.
Starling Marte tried to bunt the runners over, but Sanchez was thrown out at third base. Jose Tabata flied out, and Andrew McCutchen whiffed on a 75 mph curveball.
Peralta hit a solo homer in the fifth inning.
The Cardinals iced it with a four-run sixth. Volquez nearly escaped the inning unscathed, but a replay review did not go the Pirates' way.
With one out and runners on first and second, Yadier Molina hit a grounder to third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Matt Adams was out at second base, but the umpires ruled Molina safe at first because Davis' foot came off the bag as he stretched to catch the throw from second baseman Neil Walker.
The Pirates challenged the call, but replays were inconclusive so Molina was safe.
“I know I was on the bag,” Davis insisted. “I caught it, and there was at least half a second when my foot didn't move. But there's no (camera) angle that shows it.”
Allen Craig followed with a run-scoring single, and Peralta hit a three-run homer.
Volquez stood around for three minutes while the play was reviewed but said the delay did not break up his rhythm.