MLB Baseball
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Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
St. Louis1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4111
Pittsburgh0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 352
  W: J. Nicasio (5-5)   L: F. Rivero (5-3)
4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, September 22, 2017
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 23,942

Cardinals continue climb with visit to Pirates

According to STATS
According to STATS

St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. St. Louis has a 10-6 record against Pittsburgh this year, clinching the season series for a fourth straight year. The Pirates have won four of seven meetings in Pittsburgh, however.
  2. The Cardinals were 66-66 and 5.5 games out of the second NL wild card spot through August 30, but have gone an NL-best 14-6 since then to pull within 1.5 games of Colorado in the wild card race.
  3. Pittsburgh had scored two or fewer runs in seven straight games -- the club's longest such streak since August 2010 -- before a 6-4 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Pirates are 2-12 over their last 14 games, averaging 2.0 runs.
  4. Andrew McCutchen is one of two MLB players to record at least 20 home runs and 75 RBI in every season from 2011 to 2017, along with Nelson Cruz.
  5. Paul DeJong's 24 home runs are the second most by a Cardinals rookie all-time, behind Albert Pujols' 37 in 2001. DeJong and the Pirates' Josh Bell are two of an MLB-record nine rookies who have hit 20 or more homers this season.
  6. Michael Wacha is 8-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 15 home starts this year, compared to 4-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 road outings. He threw 8.0 shutout innings against the Pirates on September 10 in St. Louis (7-0 win).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/22/2017 thru 9/24/2017

PITTSBURGH -- The St. Louis Cardinals have a short, steep climb if they are going to push their way into the playoffs.

Next up is a club, the Pittsburgh Pirates, that could be spoilers after they got a confidence shot in their last game.

St. Louis opens a three-game set Friday at PNC Park, its final road series.

The Cardinals finished a series sweep of Cincinnati with an 8-5 victory Thursday to reach 80 wins (80-72) and keep themselves five games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central. In a more realistic situation, St. Louis is 1 1/2 games behind Colorado for the final wild-card spot with Milwaukee one back of the Rockies.

Pittsburgh (69-84) was off Thursday but might still have been basking a bit after breaking a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a walk-off 6-4 victory over the Brewers.

"It's great. It's like you popped a balloon. It's awesome," Pirates starter Steven Brault said after a no-decision. "There's no (more) pressure.

"Realize that it's been a tough little stretch, but we're still a good team. We're still putting good at-bats together. The pitchers are coming out and pitching. It's just that things weren't going our way. Hopefully, that will change and we can end the season with a really positive eight, nine wins at the end of the year. That would be pretty awesome."

That would be disastrous for St. Louis if it happens this weekend.

"We know every game is precious right now, and we just have to get back to winning some ballgames," Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha, who is scheduled to start Friday, said after his most recent outing.

"We know that we have a lot of games left with the guys ahead of us, and it's up to us to go out there and win those games."

Wacha (12-8, 4.02 ERA) took the loss Saturday in a 4-1 game against the Chicago Cubs. He pitched 5 2/3 innings but was hurt by five walks and a few defensive lapses by his teammates.

Wacha is 5-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates will counter with Ivan Nova (11-14, 4.20 ERA).

Nova is 2-8 with a 6.22 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break and could be tiring. He has set career highs in innings (180) and starts (29) this season.

He hasn't had a win since Aug. 20 -- against St. Louis in the MLB Little League Classic.

In addition, he left his previous start in the seventh because of right calf discomfort. He said it was minor and predicted he would be fine for his next start, and that's how it has played out.

In that most recent start, Nova gave up a go-ahead run before the calf problem drove him from what was a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati.

"(During) some tough times like I've been going through, it's easy to say, 'Don't think about it'," Nova said, "but in the back of your mind you think about it."

Nova is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA in three career starts, all this season, against the Cardinals. That includes a 7-0 Pittsburgh loss to Wacha and St. Louis on Sept. 10, when he gave up five runs in five innings.

Updated September 22, 2017

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