Pirates stunned again, lose 5-4 to Cardinals

 

AP Sports Writer

Just as Justin Wilson did a night earlier, Ernesto Frieri revisited exactly what went wrong on the pitch in question.

On rookie Kolten Wong's game-winning home run with two outs in the ninth inning Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates reliever was just trying to keep the ball down.

"The whole at-bat, I think that I pitched pretty good," Frieri said after the Pirates were stung by late heroics for the second straight game in a 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night. "It's just that I missed the last pitch.

"I think he saw my fastball too many times."

Frieri (1-1) got two routine outs before Wong, batting eighth, hit his third homer on a full count. The drive over the right-field wall, which was estimated at 420 feet, was the first winning homer of Wong's career and it came a night after Matt Adams hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Wilson for a 2-0 victory.

"This is what we get to do," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's not the first time we've had two tough losses and it probably isn't going to be the last time this year."

Hurdle took the loss almost too well.

"Exciting games, and one swing of the bat at the end changed the game," Hurdle said. "And shower up, get ready to play again tomorrow."

Hurdle said he hadn't been surprised by Wong's power.

"I don't not expect anything," Hurdle said. "He's a good young player, he drove in three runs, swung the bat. It's not his first homer."

The Pirates were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position for a two-day total of 0 for 17 in the matchup against the NL Central rival that beat them in a five-game NL division series last fall.

"We've been getting them for six weeks and we haven't gotten them for the last two nights," Hurdle said. "You keep sending your guys up, they keep believing good things are going to happen and keep grinding out at-bats."

The Cardinals last had consecutive game-winning homers when Albert Pujols twice beat the Cubs on June 4 and 5, 2011.

Wong also gave the Cardinals the early lead with a two-run double in the second.

Trevor Rosenthal (1-4) struck out Starling Marte on three pitches with two on to end the ninth.

Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen hit two-run homers off Carlos Martinez, in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, and McCutchen's 14th of the season put them up 4-2. Alvarez has 100 career homers with 14 homers and 47 RBIs against St. Louis, most of any opponent.

Matt Holliday had been 2 for 14 on the homestand before tying it with a two-run double off Vance Worley in the fifth. He batted second the previous 14 games while battling a slump and returned to his usual third slot Wednesday, taking a called third strike and bouncing out before the double.

Martinez allowed four runs in six innings, the longest of his five starts this season. Worley lasted five innings, the shortest of his five starts this season with Pittsburgh.

NOTES: Rookie Gregory Polanco singled his first three trips for Pittsburgh. ... The Pirates are expected to recall Brandon Cumpton (3-0, 4.61) from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday to start in place of Gerrit Cole against the Cardinals' Lance Lynn (9-6, 3.17). Cole will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a tight lat muscle. Cumpton beat the Cardinals in his major league debut last season, throwing seven scoreless innings. The Pirates consider Cole's injury minor and he was due to play catch Tuesday. ... Hurdle unsuccessfully challenged after Neil Walker tripled in the fifth, but was then picked off by catcher Yadier Molina in the fifth.

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