MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
St. Louis1 4 1 2 0 2 0 1 0 11131
Pittsburgh1 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 2 10100
  W: C. Martínez (10-9)   L: T. Williams (5-6)   S: S. Oh (19)
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, August 18, 2017
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 29,906

Cards look to build on series-opening win at Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Coming out of the opener of an important four-game National League Central series, the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates are upbeat going into the Friday rematch.

The Cardinals (62-59) were happy with their come-from-behind, 11-7 win Thursday; and, even in the loss, the Pirates (58-63) found reason to think they have some momentum.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny liked what he saw in a 15-hit attack and the ability to shrug off an early 5-1 deficit, including batting around in the ninth.

"They keep coming," he said of his hitters. "This is the kind of offense, too, that no matter how they're playing, they're always going to be able to put a strong push like they did there at the end when we needed the extra cushion.

"I think we talked about it before: We've been able to put on some good offense early and then not add on. It was good (conversely Thursday) to see guys grind through the bats all the way through."

The Cardinals began the ninth inning with a 7-5 lead but needed the four runs they scored, as Pittsburgh scored twice in the bottom of the ninth.

That late rally gave the Pirates something to build on.

"I'm not going to sit here and say (we're) disappointed," said Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison, who was 3-for-5 with a homer. "We would have liked to win, yeah. Any time you lose like that, it's tough.

"You look at us in the ninth inning, we kept fighting, kept plugging. We're going to keep playing until the game's over. Nothing to hang our heads about. Just got to keep plugging."

St. Louis and Pittsburgh are chasing the first-place Chicago Cubs in the division. The third-place Cardinals moved within 1 1/2 games of Chicago. The fourth-place Pirates, who keep flirting with a run toward contention only to fall back, have lost five games in a row and are 5 1/2 behind Chicago.

Right-hander Trevor Williams (5-5, 4.19 ERA), scheduled to start Friday for Pittsburgh, has pitched better at home, where he is 4-3 with a 3.71 ERA in his past 17 starts. He also is keeping the ball in the park pretty effectively, allowing a homer in just three of his past 16 outings.

His last time out, Saturday, Williams gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings in Pittsburgh's 7-2 loss at Toronto.

Against the Cardinals, Williams is 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in four career appearances.

St. Louis will counter with right-hander Carlos Martinez (9-9, 3.56). He ranks in the top 10 in the National League in ERA, strikeouts (165) and opponents' batting average (.227). Martinez has registered four double-digit strikeout games.

The Pirates might need to get to Martinez early. He has allowed 18 earned runs in 24 first innings.

"Finding his rhythm," Matheny said of Martinez's mission, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We've got to keep tinkering with whatever it is. Going to have to keep making adjustments until he's sharp coming right (into) the game."

Martinez pinpointed one area of concern.

"I need to focus, try a little bit harder to focus a little more, in the first inning," he said through a translator, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Updated August 18, 2017

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