Pittsburgh at St. Louis

St. Louis
W: Z. Duke (1-0) L: T. Wellemeyer (0-1)
S: M. Capps (2)
HR: PIT - N. McLouth (1)   STL - None

Pirates 7, Cardinals 4

CBSSports.com wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- Zach Duke looked like a rookie against the St. Louis Cardinals. That was more than fine by him.

Still trying to recapture the touch that made him so good in his first season, Duke pitched into the seventh inning Wednesday and led the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Cardinals 7-4.

"I just feel like I'm in control of what I'm doing out there," Duke said. "I feel like every pitch I'm about to throw I feel like I know where it's going to go,"

Freddy Sanchez went 4-for-5 for his third straight multihit game to open the year. Jack Wilson matched his career best with four hits and two RBI and Nate McLouth's two-run homer snapped his 0-for-8 start.

"We played great from the first inning on," Duke said. "We put the pressure on them, made them make the mistakes, and it's the way you want to play a game, for sure."

Duke (1-0) went 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 2005, but the left-hander scuffled to an 18-37 record over the next three seasons.

Duke gave up three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings for his first victory over the Cardinals since a complete game on Aug. 11, 2006, at home. He was 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts against them last year while going 5-14 overall.

Duke was 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in eight spring training appearances. Manager John Russell said Duke showed renewed commitment.

"He's a lot more consistent with the quality of his pitches, not as many misfires," Russell said. "He's been doing a good job of having very efficient innings."

Albert Pujols set a franchise record for a Cardinals first baseman with seven assists -- the most in the majors by a first baseman since the Pirates' Bob Robertson had eight on June 21, 1971.

But St. Louis manager Tony La Russa got little out of his third straight radically made-over lineup in as many games, including the pitcher batting eighth. Joe Thurston hit an RBI double in the ninth, but was thrown out trying for third for the first out.

"It was one of those plays, no doubt, I've got to be standing up," Thurston said.

Sanchez is batting .571 after his 11th career four-hit game, and has eight hits in his last 11 at-bats. He got his first three hits off Todd Wellemeyer (0-1), who surrendered five runs on 12 hits in five innings. Sanchez had been 2-for-18 with no RBI against the right-hander entering the game.

"The line could have been worse," Wellemeyer said. "I think I threw out of the windup against six batters."

Sanchez, the 2006 NL batting champion, batted .271 last year while battling shoulder woes much of the season.

"Freddy can hit," Russell said. "He went through a lot last year, didn't feel quite right I don't think all year long. I think he was really anxious to get the season going."

Matt Capps, the Pirates' fourth pitcher, got the last two outs for his second save in two tries. Colby Rasmus flied out to the center field wall with a man on for the second out.

The Pirates batted around in the second and scored four runs on five hits, two of them on consecutive, broken-bat RBI singles by Nyjer Morgan and Sanchez. A snappy relay from Pujols, the cutoff man, to second baseman Brendan Ryan covering first caught Ryan Doumit straying off the bag after his RBI single to help avoid further damage.

Wellemeyer, a 13-game winner in his first full year as a starter, was 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA in six spring starts. He was 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA last year against the Pirates but had trouble keeping his pitches down in his season debut.

McLouth homered in the sixth off Brad Thompson after Sanchez's leadoff double.


Pujols became only the third Cardinals player in the last 55 years to reach base four times in each of the first two games, joining Ted Sizemore (1974) and Geronimo Pena (1993). ... Pujols is 11-for-25 against Duke. ... Rick Ankiel reached on a strikeout-wild pitch in the fifth when Doumit, the Pirates' catcher, apparently got crossed up and was stunned by a fastball to the chest protector. ... Ryan Ludwick singled in the fourth and has hit in 13 straight games dating to last season.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

J. Wilson
AB 5
R 1
H 4
HR 0

Z. Duke
IP 6.1
H 5
ER 1
BB 2
K 4

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Nyjer Morgan, LF6121014 .400
Freddy Sanchez, 2B5141002 .571
Nate McLouth, CF4112101 .100
Ryan Doumit, C5021011 .154
Adam LaRoche, 1B5000025 .143
Brandon Moss, RF4230000 .375
   a- Craig Monroe, PH-RF1000001 .000
Ramon Vazquez, 3B4100112 .167
Jack Wilson, SS5142000 .462
Zach Duke, P2010013 .500
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
   b- Andy LaRoche, PH0000000 .000
   c- Eric Hinske, PH1000011 .333
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Moss in the 8th
b-announced for Grabow in the 9th
c-struck out for LaRoche in the 9th
2B - Freddy Sanchez (2, Thompson), Ryan Doumit (1, Wellemeyer), Brandon Moss (1, Wellemeyer), Zach Duke (1, Thompson)
HR - Nate McLouth (1, Thompson)
SH - Zach Duke 2 (2)
RBI - Nyjer Morgan (3), Freddy Sanchez (3), Nate McLouth 2 (2), Ryan Doumit (2), Jack Wilson 2 (5)
Team LOB - 12
Outfield Assists - Nyjer Morgan 1
DP - Vazquez-F. Sanchez-LaRoche, J. Wilson-F. Sanchez-LaRoche
PB - Ryan Doumit (1)
E - Ryan Doumit (1, Interference)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (W,1-0) 6.1531240 1.42
John Grabow 1.2000210 0.00
Tyler Yates 0.1211100 27.00
Matt Capps (S,2) 0.2000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 92-59, John Grabow 30-17, Tyler Yates 10-5, Matt Capps 8-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 6-8
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 26, John Grabow 7, Tyler Yates 3, Matt Capps 2
St. Louis Cardinals
Colby Rasmus, LF3000202 .286
Khalil Greene, SS4100104 .214
Albert Pujols, 1B3010110 .600
Ryan Ludwick, RF3110011 .375
Yadier Molina, C3001003 .182
Rick Ankiel, CF4111022 .154
David Freese, 3B4120002 .400
Todd Wellemeyer, P1000001 .000
   a- Joe Thurston, PH-2B3021011 .500
Brendan Ryan, 2B1001000 .167
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .000
   b- Brian Barden, PH1000001 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
   c- Chris Duncan, PH0000100 .333
a-doubled for Wellemeyer in the 5th
b-flied out for Thompson in the 7th
c-walked for Franklin in the 9th
2B - David Freese (1, Yates), Joe Thurston 2 (3, Duke, Yates)
SF - Yadier Molina (1), Brendan Ryan (1)
RBI - Yadier Molina (2), Rick Ankiel (1), Joe Thurston (3), Brendan Ryan (1)
SB - Ryan Ludwick (1, 2nd base off Duke/Doumit)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Ryan Ludwick 1
St. Louis Cardinals
Todd Wellemeyer (L,0-1) 51255230 9.00
Brad Thompson 2422011 6.00
Trever Miller 1.1100020 0.00
Ryan Franklin 0.2000010 0.00
WP - Trever Miller (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Todd Wellemeyer 93-63, Brad Thompson 34-24, Trever Miller 19-13, Ryan Franklin 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Todd Wellemeyer 8-3, Brad Thompson 3-2, Trever Miller 2-1, Ryan Franklin 1-0
Batters Faced - Todd Wellemeyer 28, Brad Thompson 10, Trever Miller 6, Ryan Franklin 2
Game Information
Attendance - 35535
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 56
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Ed Rapuano