Pirates seek three straight wins against Cardinals
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been impressive in a number of ways this season. One of their best attributes has been their resiliency.
They bounced back from a 17-4 loss in their series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals to win the past two games by the same score of 2-1.
They'll go for three wins in a row when they visit the Cardinals in the series finale on Sunday.
The Pirates have won seven of 10 since an eight-game losing streak from April 21-28.
They lost 14-1 to the Oakland A's last weekend, only to bounce back and win the next two games in the series and post three straight victories overall.
Over in the St. Louis clubhouse, manager Mike Shildt liked what he saw from his offense the past two games. The Cardinals just haven't been rewarded as often as they were on Thursday night, when they went 11-for-25 with runners in scoring position.
"We got their starter with 50 pitches after basically two innings of work (on Saturday), so we're not chasing out of the zone. (We're) taking disciplined at-bats, putting the ball in play," Shildt said. "It is the recipe for success, just not seeing the result of it right now."
The Cardinals will send Dakota Hudson to the mound in the hopes he can help even the series.
Hudson (2-3, 4.63 ERA) faced Pittsburgh earlier this season in his only relief appearance this season and he retired the final two batters to get his first career save in the 5-4 victory in 10 innings.
All four of his appearances against Pittsburgh in his two-year career have come as a reliever. He has allowed one run and no hits in five innings in those games.
Steven Brault (0-1, 7.11 ERA) is set to make his second start of the season for the Pirates. He made his first on Tuesday and allowed two runs and two hits in four innings of a 5-4 win against the visiting Texas Rangers.
Brault has primarily been a reliever in his career, with 51 of his 61 appearances over the past three seasons coming out of the bullpen.
Injuries to the starting pitching staff have provided Brault an opportunity in the rotation. The extra reps from being a starter have helped boost confidence in his mechanics.
"We talked about the idea of working on delivery and the stuff I did all offseason and, now that I have that base, being able to be athletic and let it go," Brault said. "It's not like I have to focus on mechanics because, since I worked on it all offseason, it has the base. I have that, and now when I go on the mound, just go."
Brault has made eight appearances against the Cardinals in his career, including two starts, and is 0-1 with a 3.43 ERA.
Pittsburgh third baseman Jung Ho Kang is hitless in his past 23 at-bats after striking out as a pinch hitter on Thursday, dropping his average to .133.
Kang, who started at third on Opening Day for the Pirates, is beginning to lose playing time to Colin Moran, who's 2-for-5 with a walk in the past two wins.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 12, 2019