The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

April 28, 2013

Martin delivers for Bucs

ST. LOUIS — Russell Martin wanted a better fate for his starting pitcher and helped deliver a happier ending.

The Pittsburgh Pirates catcher hit a two-run home run to highlight a four-run seventh inning and the Pirates rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 on Saturday. The comeback gave A.J. Burnett (2-2) his second victory over St. Louis in 10 days.

“It was great, man. I was really happy about that,” said Martin, who went 2-for-4 with a double. “A.J.’s been pitching his butt off all year and he hasn’t had too many wins under his belt and he should. It seemed like it was going to go like kind of how it’s been, but we were able to muster up some wins and find a way to do it for him.

“It’s definitely gratifying. It feels great.”

Burnett gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. His six strikeouts expanded his team record for the month of April to a league-leading 48. Burnett threw seven shutout innings in a 5-0 win over St. Louis on April 17.

He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his six starts this season, giving up three just twice. The Pirates haven’t backed him at the plate, however, providing him an average of 2.33 runs.

Burnett used 111 pitches, earning an exit earlier than he wanted, but he was pleased with his results and the victory.

“It feels good just because the fact that these guys keep going,” he said. “Russ started us off with the homer. We’re never out of it. We’re never down. There’s no negative thoughts.

“As a starter, I’m going to try to keep doing that until (manager) Clint (Hurdle) takes me out.”  

St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook left after six innings with a 2-0 lead in search of his 100th career victory. He struck out a season-high six and scattered six hits to lower his ERA to 0.98 in five starts.

The Pirates had three consecutive hits against reliever Joe Kelly (0-1) to lead off the seventh and were aided by a hit by pitch and a walk to score four runs. Martin’s fifth homer of the season drove in Pedro Alvarez to tie the score at 2, Andrew McCutchen walked with the bases loaded and Garrett Jones grounded in Starling Marte.

“They just couldn’t get it done today,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of his bullpen. “Any time you lose a game in the last third, it can be extremely frustrating. When the starter gives you a great chance like that, you hate to see it slip away.”

The Pirates added their fifth run on a double by Martin and a sacrifice fly from Gaby Sanchez. Martin has a hit in 10 of his past 11 games.

Pittsburgh had scored just one run in the first 15 innings of the series before their four-run outburst. The beleaguered St. Louis Cardinals bullpen had its ERA balloon to 5.62. The Cardinals have given up 39 runs after the sixth inning this season.

“Honestly, I didn’t know they were struggling like that,” Martin said. “All of those guys have tremendous arms and they’ve got good stuff. It’s going to even out for them, I’m sure.

“The difference is, when they’re struggling, it’s just their minds that are struggling. Maybe their focus is just a bit off. When you get a guy whose focus is off he tends to make more mistakes and that’s when you have to capitalize.”

Jason Grilli surrendered his first run of the season on a RBI double from Carlos Beltran in the ninth but earned his 10th save in 10 tries.

St. Louis jumped to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and sixth. Pete Kozma’s two-out single up the middle scored Jon Jay. Matt Carpenter and Beltran singled to start the first. Carpenter scored on Matt Holliday’s groundout.

Westbrook’s performance also lowered the Cardinals starters ERA to a league-best 2.08.

He allowed a runner to reach second base once, though the Pirates went in order just one time.

Westbrook has struggled throughout his career against the Pirates, entering with a 1-7 record and a 5.28 ERA. It could have been worse. He gave up four runs and six hits in two innings April 16 before rain forced the game’s postponement.

“I felt like I was throwing the ball pretty well, had a good sinker. I was able to get some early outs and stayed out of trouble for the most part,” he said.

Notes: Pittsburgh OF Travis Snider was scratched from the starting lineup with discomfort on his left side. He’s listed as day to day. ... Pittsburgh INF Neil Walker took six stitches on his right index finger after Cardinals SS Pete Kozma stepped on him while turning a double play Friday. He’s listed day-to-day but is likely out for at least a week. ... With a single in the third, Pittsburgh OF Jose Tabata has now hit safely in 20 of his 22 career games at Busch Stadium. ... Jay stole his first base of the year in the fourth. He led the team with 19 in 2012. ... Westbrook entered the game with eight strikeouts. ... Cardinals starters have all 14 of the team’s victories. ... Cardinals INF Daniel Descalso went 0-2 with two walks and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. ... Cardinals INF Jermaine Curtis made his Major League debut and struck out in the ninth as a pinch hitter for Matt Carpenter, who was pulled with a mild oblique strain on his left side.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014