The St. Louis Cardinals arrive in Pittsburgh on Friday for the start of a series against the Pirates looking to turn around their road trip.
St. Louis dropped three of four against the Mets in New York, including a 7-6, 10-inning defeat on Thursday. The trip concludes with three games against the Pirates.
The Cardinals hope they can get a spark for power-hitting prospect Nolan Gorman, who will be called up from Triple-A Memphis and is expected to start Friday at second base.
“He’s here to play,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “He’s going to show what he’s able to do. … We have a need, so he’s coming to fill it.”
Gorman has 15 homers and a .308 average in 34 games for Memphis.
Marmol said outfielder Tyler O’Neill is going on the injured list because of a shoulder issue.
The Pirates, meanwhile, are in the market for runs. They have scored four total over their past four games, and three of those came in their most game, a 3-2 road win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh was fortunate to go 2-2 in those four games, the first in that stretch a 1-0 victory in which the Cincinnati Reds pitched a combined no-hitter but the Pirates still were able to scratch a run.
“We’ve been stressing, get your pitch. If you don’t get it, take your walks,” Pittsburgh third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes said. “We’re a super young team. We’re all still learning, trying to get better.”
It’s not just this week that the Pirates’ bats have been quiet. They rank last in the National League in runs (122), next-to-last in homers (28) and 12th in batting average (.224).
Overall, Pittsburgh is 7-7 in its past 14 games after dropping six of seven.
In the series opener, St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright (4-3, 3.15 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Zach Thompson (2-3, 5.47).
Wainwright can’t pull out a deed, but he nearly owns the Pirates. In 48 games, including 42 starts, against them, he is 22-7 with a 3.65 ERA.
And the 40-year-old might be getting better with age against the Pirates.
Wainwright comes into Friday with a 32-inning scoreless streak against Pittsburgh, dating to June 26, 2021. At PNC Park, site of this weekend’s series, he has pitched 20 straight scoreless innings dating to Sept. 7, 2019.
Last season, Wainwright compiled a 0.30 ERA in four starts against the Pirates. Then he blanked Pittsburgh over six innings in an Opening Day win this year.
Thompson, who has never faced St. Louis, has been tough to hit lately.
He is riding a string of 12 straight scoreless innings over three appearances — two starts and an inning of relief — lowering his ERA from 10.05.
In those three outings, he has struck out 10, walked four and allowed four hits.
That includes six one-hit innings Saturday in the Pirates’ 3-1 win over Cincinnati. The hit, a little flare by Brandon Drury with two outs in the sixth, came as Thompson was starting to wilt on a warm, muggy day.
He lasted just one more hitter before his job was done, but it was the type of job Pittsburgh craves.
“Any time our guys are that efficient, especially the first few times through the order, it’s important,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Thompson, who threw 17 pitches, 13 of them strikes, through the first two innings Saturday.
–Field Level Media