ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jack Flaherty earned his major league-leading eighth win of the season as the St. Louis Cardinals scored five runs in the second inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-5 on Wednesday night.
Flaherty (8-0) allowed two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out seven in six innings of work. He is the first Cardinals pitcher to win eight straight starts since John Tudor and Joaquín Andújar each accomplished the feat in 1985.
“It means we’re playing some pretty good baseball,” Flaherty said. “We’re doing a pretty good job out there as a team.”
Flaherty also became the first St. Louis pitcher to go 8-0 in his first nine starts since Bob Gibson in 1965.
“Jack’s one of the elite pitchers in this league and we know that we’ve got a really good chance to win every time he goes out there,” said Tommy Edman, who drove in three runs for the Cardinals. “It’s tough to have eight straight starts where you get that win. It just shows the consistency that he has.”
Kodi Whitley relived Flaherty in the seventh and allowed three runs on a walk and two hits without recording an out. Tyler Webb, Génesis Cabrera and Ryan Helsley bridged the gap to Alex Reyes who struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 13th save in as many opportunities.
Paul Goldschmidt had three hits and two RBIs as the Cardinals improved to 5-0 against Pittsburgh this season.
“The top two guys were getting on base a lot,” Goldschmidt said about Edman and Dylan Carlson. “We were able to get them in enough times and just some big hits, especially early there.”
Pirates starter Trevor Cahill (1-5) allowed four runs on two hits, two walks and a hit batter. He departed the game suffering from left calf discomfort with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the second inning.
“I wouldn’t say there was a pop,” Cahill said. “It was just kind of there and just got to the point where I felt like I really couldn’t compete any more.”
Cahill was removed while facing Flaherty after walking Harrison Bader and Justin Williams and plunking Edmundo Sosa with a pitch. The Pirates say he is day-to-day.
Flaherty lined the first pitch he saw from reliever Duane Underwood to right field to drive in Bader. Edman followed with a two-run single, and Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado each added RBI singles to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead.
“I think what was missing early on was an ability to locate breaking balls,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said about Underwood. “It became all fastballs, and when you go all fastballs to this club they were able to execute that, and I think we saw him settle down after that and execute his change-up and his curveball.”
Gregory Polanco hit a two-run home run to right field in the fifth inning. It was his fourth of the season and the first allowed by Flaherty in four May starts.
St. Louis scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to expand its lead to 8-2.
Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (left wrist strain) participated in a simulated game pregame. The team expects to send him on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis Thursday or Friday. … RHP Chad Kuhl (right shoulder discomfort) threw 42 pitches allowing just one hit with five strikeouts in three innings in a rehab start for Indianapolis.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (right shoulder) will be activated off the injured list to start against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Mikolas will be making his season debut after missing the entire 2020 season with a right flexor tendon.
Pirates: RHP Wil Crowe (0-2, 4.35) ERA will get the start to open a four-game series at Atlanta Thursday night. The Braves will counter with LHP Drew Smyly (2-2, 5.23 ERA)
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martínez (3-4, 4.35 ERA) will be activated from the injured list to start the opener of a three-game series Friday night against the Chicago Cubs.
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