earns first win as Cards end three-game skid
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[April 18, 2017]
ST. LOUIS -- Lance Lynn came
into his start for the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night knowing
exactly what was missing in his first two games this season.
Coming back after sitting out last season as he recovered from Tommy
John surgery, Lynn got himself in trouble in the middle innings of
those starts, both of which turned into losses for the Cardinals.
"The first couple of games, I was good early on and got into the
middle innings and wasn't attacking and doing the things I do well
as a starting pitcher," Lynn said. "I just felt I wasn't in my
natural element of attacking hitters, and that's not me. I'm not
going to pitch like that."
Lynn did what he wanted to do Monday, tossing seven shutout innings
for his first victory of the season, 2-1 over the Pittsburgh
He outdueled Ivan Nova, who pitched an eight-inning complete game in
just 78 pitches but lost because of a home run by Kolten Wong in the
third inning and an RBI single by Jose Martinez in the seventh.
Lynn (1-1) allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out
five. He also hit two batters, both of them Josh Harrison, who also
was hit twice on Sunday in Chicago.
Nova's pitch to Wong was one of only a few mistakes the Pittsburgh
right-hander made in the game. It was the first home run he had
allowed in 42 innings dating back to last year.
"I wanted to go outside and the ball was inside to his power and he
took advantage of it," Nova said. "I was trying to be aggressive in
the strike zone. I was trying to make good pitches. I was able to
throw strikes. I had the hitters out of rhythm."
Wong's homer was one of only two hits by the Cardinals until the
Pirate manager Clint Hurdle was impressed by both pitchers in the
"Both of those starters were quick and efficient," Hurdle said.
"Ivan was on top of his game. He had 13 first-pitch strikes. He had
13 hitters retired on three pitches or less and only one three-ball
count. I thought he pitched an extremely competitive game.
"We've seen Lynn good here. We've had more success against him at
home. The splits are substantial. He moved the ball in and out. He's
very aggressive in the zone. The slider plagued right-handers. He
threw an effective changeup."
The Pirates (6-7) threatened in the ninth against Cardinals closer
Seung Hwan Oh, who gave up an infield single with one out and a
two-out RBI single by pinch hitter Gregory Polanco before getting
John Jaso to ground out for the final out.
It was the first save by the Cardinals this season,
coming in their 13th game.
The Cardinals (4-9) stopped a three-game losing streak. Reversing
the team's early struggles also was on Lynn's mind.
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Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn (31) celebrates after getting
the final out of the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at
Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
"We lost the first two games I started this year, and I really hate
losing, especially when I don't do my job," Lynn said. "It was time
for me to get going and get back to doing what I'm capable of doing.
"You want to be known as the stopper. When you go through a rotation
and see we're not pitching the way we're capable of or played the
way we're capable of you want to be the guy that kind of gets us
going and stops it. Hopefully that will bleed into the next start."
The start of the season also has not gone well for Wong, who was in
an 0-for-10 rut and hitting .148 before his home run, his first of
the season. It was the seventh of his career against the Pirates,
the most he has hit against any team.
"We kind of came out with different energy," Wong said. "To get that
run for us was huge because you knew Lance was going to pitch a good
game. We got the win, that's all that matters."
NOTES: 1B Matt Carpenter was a late scratch from the Cardinals'
lineup because of a swollen finger. He was hurt fielding a ball in
the Sunday night game ... Pirates OF Gregory Polanco was not in the
starting lineup for the third consecutive game because of discomfort
in his right groin, but he pinch-hit in the ninth. It is likely he
will be able to play on Tuesday. ... Cardinals LHP Tyler Lyons
(right knee) made his third start during a rehab assignment for
Triple-A Memphis on Monday and threw 73 pitches in 4 2/3 innings,
allowing two runs on six hits. ... The Pirates acquired RHP Johnny
Barbato from the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash.
Barbato, 24, was added to the 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A
Indianapolis. ... Cardinals RHP Mike Leake (1-1, 0.60 ERA) will
start in the second game of the series Tuesday night against Pirates
RHP Chad Kuhl (0-0, 2.38 ERA).
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
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