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Pirates – Cards Post-Game Wrapup: On Morton’s performance, clutch hits, Hurdle’s use of bullpen

Pirates 4 – Cardinals 3

W: Charlie Morton (1-0)
L: Kyle Lohse (0-1)
S: Joel Hanrahan (3)
Post-Game Wrapup: Charlie Morton has started the regular season right where he left off the spring.
Morton put together an impressive performance, allowing 3 hits and 1 run in 6 innings pitched to earn his 1st victory of the season in Pittsburgh 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Early on his sinker was very effective in the 93-94 mph range with a lot of armside movement. Morton though used his fastball a lot and the one knock on his start was his struggles at times with his command.
Morton threw 97 pitches, 57 of them strikes and walked five batters. But, anytime he appeared to be facing some adversity he came up clutch getting a key out or strikeout.
A key inning for Morton was in the 5th against the top of Cardinals order.
In the bottom of the 5th with the Pirates trailing 1-0, Morton got Schumaker and Lohse on two quick outs.
Ryan Theriot than singled to right and Theriot stole second to get into scoring position. Kolby Rasmus walked, bringing Albert Pujols to the plate and Morton got Pujols to ground out and end the inning.
Puljols was 0-for-3 against Morton with three groundouts.
*Kyle Lohse was looking unbeatable through five innings but the Pirates young core came up with clutch hits once again as the Pirates put up 4-runs in the 6th inning behind two big hits from Neil Walker (3-for-4, 2 RBI’s, 1 run) and Andrew McCutchen (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI’s, 1 run).
Walker doubled to deep left, scoring Ronny Cedeno and Jose Tabata to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead.
Andrew McCutchen then homered to left, giving the Pirates a commanding 4-1 lead. The back to back hits from Walker and McCutchen changed the momentum of the game.
McCutchen’s 2-run shot was his 2nd home run of the season. Walker’s 2 RBI night gives him 7 RBI’s on the season.
*Clint Hurdle managed his bullpen wonderful tonight. In the bottom of the 8th, Evan Meek allowed 2 hits, 2 runs and walked a batter in just 9 pitches and Hurdle yanked Meek with 0 outs and runners on first and third as the Cardinals cut the Pirates lead to 4-2.
Hurdle went to the rookie Mike Crotta who got Craig to groundout into a fielder’s choice than struck out Freese.
With 2 outs and the Pirates lead down to 4-3, Hurdle went to his closer in the 8th inning and Hanrahan struckout Molina to end the inning and Hanrahan went on to pitch a 1-2-3 9th to earn his 3rd save of the season.
With Meek’s track record from last season, most managers might have stuck with their 8th inning reliever but Hurdle made a great call in getting him out of there as Meek continues to struggle this season.
Reliever Jose Veras continues to pitch well for the Pirates and pitched a scoreless 7th inning.
*James McDonald will make his first start of the season tomorrow.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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