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St. Louis at Pittsburgh

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St. Louis (81-57)100120001590
Pittsburgh (54-81) «1000030026132

Pirates rally, momentarily stave off 17th straight losing season

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Thanks to Garrett Jones and a rare failure by the Cardinals' Ryan Franklin, the Pittsburgh Pirates must wait at least a day to set one of the most unwanted records in pro sports.

Jones hit a game-ending RBI single to cap a two-run rally in the ninth inning against one of the majors' top closers and the Pirates ended a nine-game losing streak, beating St. Louis 6-5 Sunday.

The Pirates won after falling behind 5-4 on Rick Ankiel's pinch-hit homer off Jesse Chavez (1-4) in the top of the ninth. By rallying, they postponed becoming the first team in any of the four major American pro team sports -- major league baseball, the NFL, NBA or NFL -- to have 17 consecutive losing seasons.

This current mix of prospects and lower-paid players has been responsible for only a handful of the 1,500 losses the Pirates have absorbed since 1993, and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said this team is playing like it doesn't want the streak to last much longer.

"We've been there ... They're young and they're hungry, and they're all playing to be here next year," reliever Trever Miller said of the Pirates, who have dealt five everyday players since opening day.

Not that the Cardinals accepted losing for only the third time in 14 games. Especially the way they lost, with a lead and Franklin on the mound in the ninth.

Franklin (2-2) gave up singles to Jason Jaramillo, Andrew McCutchen and pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit in a span of four batters, although Jaramillo was forced at second on a failed sacrifice.

The left-handed Miller came in to face the lefty-hitting Jones with runners on first and second and one out, and the rookie hit a line drive between left fielder Ankiel and center fielder Colby Rasmus for the Pirates' first victory since beating the Phillies 3-2 on Aug. 27.

Jones, a Pirates find who was previously stuck in Minnesota's farm system, leads NL rookies with 18 homers but wasn't looking to drive the ball.

"I was trying to take a nice, short swing and hit a line drive and just get a pitch to hit," said Jones, who is hitting .308. "It worked out, I hit it decently and it started tailing away."

Franklin had converted his previous 13 save opportunities and 37 of 39 overall.

"He's been out there a lot, I think his stuff was not quite as sharp -- he had to locate perfectly and they stayed on the ball nice," La Russa said. "We'll be careful in the Milwaukee series [that starts Monday] about how we use him."

The Cardinals lost for only the sixth time in 28 games since taking control of the NL Central on Aug. 7. They still lead the Cubs by 11½ games.

"We're looking forward to playing playoff baseball," Miller said. "We just got to get there. That was frustrating right there, you don't ever want to have a hiccup game like that."

The game began with a misplay that epitomized all that's gone wrong with a Pirates franchise that, for its first 100 seasons of existence, was one of baseball's most consistent winners.

With Julio Lugo on third after his leadoff double and a sacrifice, catcher Jaramillo's throw back to the mound following a pitch to Albert Pujols sailed far over Paul Maholm's head for an error that scored Lugo.

St. Louis later took a 4-1 lead on Yadier Molina's RBI single in the fourth and run-scoring singles by Pujols and Ryan Ludwick in the fifth. Pujols drove in five runs during a series in which he hit a three-run homer during a 14-7 win Friday and a decisive pinch-hit drive in the 10th inning of a 2-1 victory on Saturday.

The Pirates tied it with a three-run sixth against Joel Pineiro, who failed to win his ninth consecutive decision. He gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings. Brandon Moss doubled ahead of Ronny Cedeno's two-run single and Jaramillo's run-scoring single.

Notes

  • The Cardinals had won Pineiro's last 11 starts.
  • The Pirates also avoided being mathematically eliminated in the NL Central.
  • Pujols, who had three hits, batted .463 against Pittsburgh with five homers and 16 RBI. St. Louis won the season series 10-5.
  • Pirates 3B Neil Walker singled in the eighth for his first major league hit. Chavez also gained his first victory.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Garrett Jones hits a walk-off single to save the Pirates some major embarrassment for one day at least.  (AP)
Garrett Jones hits a walk-off single to save the Pirates some major embarrassment for one day at least. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. Jaramillo
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
Julio Lugo, 2B-SS4110110 .295
Brendan Ryan, SS3110011 .286
   a- Rick Ankiel, PH-LF1111000 .232
Albert Pujols, 1B5131000 .324
Matt Holliday, LF5010024 .316
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
Ryan Ludwick, RF4111012 .273
Troy Glaus, 3B4000001 .083
Yadier Molina, C2011200 .288
Colby Rasmus, CF4000013 .254
Joel Pineiro, P3000031 .140
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
   b- Skip Schumaker, PH-2B1000010 .299
Totals36594310  
a-homered for Ryan in the 9th
b-struck out for Motte in the 9th
Batting
2B - Julio Lugo (13, Maholm), Brendan Ryan (14, Maholm)
HR - Rick Ankiel (11, J. Chavez)
SH - Brendan Ryan (6)
RBI - Rick Ankiel (37), Albert Pujols (118), Ryan Ludwick (87), Yadier Molina (47)
2-OUT RBI - Rick Ankiel (15), Ryan Ludwick (23)
Team LOB - 9
St. Louis Cardinals
Joel Pineiro 6844130 3.28
Dennys Reyes 1000000 3.44
Jason Motte 1100010 5.15
Ryan Franklin (BS,3; L,2-2) 0.1322000 1.67
Trever Miller0100000 1.66
Pitches-Strikes - Joel Pineiro 96-64, Dennys Reyes 11-7, Jason Motte 18-11, Ryan Franklin 14-9, Trever Miller 3-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joel Pineiro 9-6, Dennys Reyes 1-2, Jason Motte 1-1, Ryan Franklin 1-0
Batters Faced - Joel Pineiro 27, Dennys Reyes 3, Jason Motte 4, Ryan Franklin 4, Trever Miller 1
Pittsburgh Pirates
Andrew McCutchen, CF5220001 .282
Ramon Vazquez, 2B4000001 .240
   a- Ryan Doumit, PH1011000 .236
Garrett Jones, 1B5121000 .308
Lastings Milledge, LF4011011 .299
Brandon Moss, RF4120010 .246
Neil Walker, 3B3110112 .111
    Jesse Chavez, P0000000 .000
Ronny Cedeno, SS4012001 .204
Jason Jaramillo, C4031000 .261
Paul Maholm, P1000010 .075
   b- Delwyn Young, PH1000002 .277
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
    Andy LaRoche, 3B1100001 .245
Totals37613614  
a-singled for Vazquez in the 9th
b-flied out for Maholm in the 6th
Batting
2B - Brandon Moss (18, Pineiro)
SH - Paul Maholm (5)
RBI - Ryan Doumit (28), Garrett Jones (36), Lastings Milledge (15), Ronny Cedeno 2 (32), Jason Jaramillo (23)
2-OUT RBI - Lastings Milledge (5), Ronny Cedeno 2 (19), Jason Jaramillo (11)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Ronny Cedeno (9, Misplayed grounder), Jason Jaramillo (4, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Paul Maholm 6644170 4.72
Joel Hanrahan 2000220 5.19
Jesse Chavez (W,1-4) 1311011 4.21
HBP - Ludwick (by Paul Maholm)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 101-65, Joel Hanrahan 31-20, Jesse Chavez 22-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 7-5, Joel Hanrahan 1-3
Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 27, Joel Hanrahan 8, Jesse Chavez 6
Game Information
Attendance - 19274
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Randy Marsh, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Marvin Hudson