Pirates score in 10th to salvage series with St. Louis
Xavier Paul scores from third with the game-winning run during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Pittsburgh on Sunday. (AP photo)
The veteran right-hander has struggled this month, entering the game with an 0-3 mark and a 7.64 ERA in July.
The team was so concerned about his performance it ordered the 32-year-old back to St. Louis last week to have the inflammation on the middle finger of his right (pitching) hand examined.
The tests revealed no significant damage and he was effective if not overpowering against Pittsburgh’s slumping lineup. Lohse gave up two runs in five innings, striking out four while throwing 45 of his 64 pitches for strikes.
“Little sore, but I felt like I pretty much was able to make the pitches I needed to make, so I’m just doing more treatment and hope it feels better next time,” Lohse said.
His numbers would have been even better if not for some uncharacteristically sloppy defense.
The Pirates scratched a run across in the third behind the first career steal by Fryer, who advanced to third when shortstop Ryan Theriot misplayed the throw from Laird.
The steal was the first against Lohse since Pittsburgh’s Jose Tabata swiped second against him on Aug. 23, 2010. The sequence was repeated almost exactly in the 10th as the Pirates avoided their longest losing streak since dropping six straight in May.
They have a boost heading into a tough week, while the Cardinals begin a user-friendly portion of the schedule with home series this week against also-rans Houston and Chicago, who began the day a combined 32.5 games out of first.
“For the most part, we can build off this series,” Laird said. “You always want to win series, and we won this one today. Hopefully we can make a push here because this division is getting tight.”
NOTES: Pittsburgh OF Alex Presley missed his second straight game after sustaining a left thumb contusion on Friday. He is day-to-day. ... The series drew 112,994 fans to PNC Park, the third-highest total for a three-game set in the park’s 11-year history. ... St. Louis RF Lance Berkman went 1 for 5 to extend his hitting streak to eight games ... St. Louis pitcher Jake Westbrook served as a pinch runner in the eighth. ... The game was delayed several minutes in the eighth when home plate umpire John Hirschbeck was hit in the groin with a foul ball. Hirschbeck was tended to by trainers but remained in the game.