Pirates’ Jordan Lyles, 4 others combine on 2-hitter vs. Cardinals | TribLIVE.com

Pirates’ Jordan Lyles, 4 others combine on 2-hitter vs. Cardinals

Associated Press
Pirates starting pitcher Jordan Lyles delivers during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, May 11, 2019, in St. Louis.
The Pirates’ Starling Marte scores a run during the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, May 11, 2019, in St. Louis.
Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) is unable to make a catch on a ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul DeJong for an RBI double during the third inning Saturday, May 11, 2019, in St. Louis.
Getty Images
The Pirates’ Josh Bell hits a RBI single in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Getty Images
The Cardinals’ Paul DeJong attempts to turn a double play in the fourth inning against the Pirates at Busch Stadium on May 11, 2019 in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Jordan Lyles had to change his plan on the fly.

Lyles overcame a 30-pitch first inning to combine with four relievers on a two-hitter, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1, on Saturday for their seventh win in 10 games after an eight-game losing streak.

Lyles (3-1) allowed one hit through six innings, struck out six and walked three, lowering his ERA to 2.09, fifth-best in the NL.

With the Cardinals laying off Lyles’ curveball, he relied more on secondary pitches. Lyles said he threw more sliders than in previous games this season.

“I’ve made strides in making that pitch better, which allows my other pitches to play up a little better along with throwing more elevated fastballs and occasional sinkers,” Lyles said.

He battled through the first after a rain delay of 2 hours, 56 minutes, before the game. He struck out Matt Carpenter in a 10-pitch at-bat leading off, walked Paul Goldschmidt on a full count, retired Paul DeJong on a lineout that ended a seven-pitch at-bat, then struck out Marcell Ozuna in another seven-pitch at-bat.

“It’s not the way you draw it up coming out of the blocks, but he was steadfast in his approach, his conviction with pitches and stayed in the hunt,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Lyles was removed after 101 pitches. He had been 0-1 with a pair of no-decisions since beating San Francisco on April 19.

“We were able to bounce back after the second, a couple of 1-2-3 innings,” Lyles said. “It wasn’t ideal to start the game off, but we bounced back in a decent way.”

St. Louis’ only hit off Lyles was an RBI double by DeJong in the third that glanced off the glove of right fielder Gregory Polanco as he jumped into the wall.

“I think there comes a point in time in a guy’s career where they figure out who they are, they like who they are and they go out and pitch like who they are,” Hurdle said. “I think Lyles got to that point last season.”

Richard Rodriguez and Francisco Liriano combined on a perfect seventh, and Kyle Crick gave up a single to Goldschmidt around a pair of walks in the eighth, then escaped the bases-loaded jam by retiring Ozuna on a groundout. Felipe Vazquez pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 12 chances.

After scoring 17 runs in the series opener, the Cardinals were held to one for the second straight day.

Polanco had an RBI triple in the fourth and scored on a single by Josh Bell, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas (4-3) gave up three hits — all in a row — and struck out a season-high seven in seven innings. St. Louis has lost two in a row to the Pirates after winning its first three games against them this season.

“I think everyone’s been trending in the right direction,” Mikolas said. “Baseball cliche, sometimes the pitchers will pick up the slack. Sometimes the hitters will do that. Once we start clicking on all cylinders and doing everything right at the right time, we’ll be a very scary baseball club.”

The Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang pinch hit in the eighth and struck out, extending his hitless streak to 23 at-bats since April 26 and dropping his batting average to .133.

In Sunday’s series finale, Steven Brault (0-1, 7.11 ERA) is scheduled to make his second start of the season for the Pirates against Dakota Hudson (2-2, 4.63 ERA). Brault made his major league debut against the Cardinals in 2016 and is 0-1 with a 3.43 ERA in eight appearances against them.

Hudson allowed a career high eight runs, though only two were earned, over five innings in a loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Categories: Sports | Pirates
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