Young Pittsburgh ace Gerrit Cole has his second lowest winning percentage against the St. Louis Cardinals. They’ve managed to get the best of him more times than not. However, Sunday night, Cole was in control He went seven innings, allowing no runs on two hits as his team beat the Cardinals 7-1.
The loss for St. Louis cuts their N.L. Central Division lead down to 5.5 games. The Pirates won their first series in Busch Stadium since 2013 and for the first time this year, won a series on the road against a Central Division foe.
Cole, who grew up in southern California, cheering for John Lackey when he pitched with the Angels, won the head to head battle with his boyhood idol. Lackey matched Cole early through the first three innings, but then ran into trouble.
After needed just 29 pitches in the first three innings, Lackey gave up a run in the fourth on four hits. Cole singled in a run in the seventh to help his own cause and Lackey was done in the eighth when he gave up a two-run homer to Aramis Ramirez. Steve Cishek and Mitch Harris each gave up two-run homers in relief.
Now the Cardinals face the 4th best team in baseball, but third best team in the division. The Chicago Cubs come to St. Louis after sweeping Arizona, not looking so much at catching the Cardinals, but trying to secure the home game against the Pirates for the one game wild card.
The Cubs will send one-time Cardinal Dan Haren to the mound against Lance Lynn in Monday’s opener. He’s coming off perhaps his best start since joining them at the trade deadline. Haren allowed two runs over five innings in his last start, after not throwing a quality start since July 30.
Lynn pitched seven scoreless innings against the Giants, but rolled his right ankle and got a few days extra rest. He’s allowed four combined runs in 19.2 innings over his last three starts.