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STL@PIT: Motte allows a walk-off sac fly to d'Arnaud

PITTSBURGH -- Chase d'Arnaud's walk-off 10th inning sacrifice fly lifted the Pirates to a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Xavier Paul beat out a one-out grounder off Cards reliever Jason Motte. Paul then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Gerald Laird. d'Arnaud then delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly.

"I got over and I just didn't put my foot on the bag," Motte lamented. "I got over there and was trying to find the bag and just didn't get there in time."

"It's a testament to not making a simple play," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "There should have been two outs and nobody on. He shouldn't have been on first base, but then after that they made it happen."

A crowd of 35,402 watched the Cardinals' three-game winning steak come to an end, while the victory snapped a three-game losing skid for the Pirates.

The Cardinals committed a litany of errors, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in addition to throwing miscues and baserunning blunders. It led to the 11th walk-off loss of their season and their third walk-off loss on this road swing through Cincinnati, New York and Pittsburgh.

"We did some fundamental things right and we also did some fundamental things wrong," La Russa stated. "So we ended up losing a winnable game. You don't play perfect all the time, nobody does."

"It was one of those days when I didn't execute and we didn't execute plays when we needed to," Laird said. "Obviously there were a couple throwing errors, it's just one of those things. We had a chance to win and we just couldn't get it done. In close games like that you've got to execute small-ball and obviously make the plays, and we didn't make the plays and we gave them an opportunity."

St. Louis right-hander Kyle Lohse, showing no discomfort from an inflamed middle finger on his pitching hand, tossed five innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He received a no-decision for his effort.

"He's had this thing about the third time through the lineup, and he didn't make a pitch on Morton," La Russa said. "I don't know if it's fatigue, heat or whatever. He'd given us five good innings and it was time to go to the pen; we had a fresh pen."

Lohse felt that he still had some gas left in the tank.

"Yeah, I had more left," Lohse explained. "But considering how things have been going I just wanted to play it safe and not throw until I felt something. I think that's what Tony's reasoning was. I'm not going to argue with him. We had Lynn who could go multiple innings. You just want to be careful, I can understand what he's trying to do. I felt like I could stay out there, but it was a good decision on his part."

The Cards went to Lance Lynn, who pitched two innings and allowed one run on two hits, and then right-hander Mitchell Boggs, who tossed two scoreless frames. Motte suffered the loss to fall to 3-2 on the season.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton also got a no-decision. The right-hander worked 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits and five walks.

The Bucs' bullpen did not give up a run in 4 2/3 innings of work. Jason Grilli pitched 1 1/3 innings, Chris Resop and Joel Hanrahan tossed scoreless frames and Joe Beimel hurled a perfect tenth inning.

"Our bullpen was lights out again," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle stated. "Charlie gave us a stable outing and we just kept grinding. It was a very gritty performance by our club today."

The Cardinals nicked Morton for a run in the top of the second inning. Colby Rasmus singled and went to third on a single by Skip Schumaker. Rasmus then scored on a sacrifice fly by Laird.

The Pirates tied the game at one in the bottom of the third inning. Eric Fryer led off with a single, and after stealing second, he advanced to third on an error by shortstop Ryan Theriot. Fryer then scored on an RBI double by d'Arnaud.

The Cards regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Daniel Descalso drew a walk, and with one out, Theriot singled through a hole created when Bucs second baseman Neil Walker moved to cover second. Then with runners at first and third, Morton uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Descalso to score from third base.

The Pirates tied the game at two in the bottom of the fifth. Ronny Cedeno sliced a double down the right-field line and advanced to third base on a groundout. Morton then drove in Cedeno with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Rasmus put the Cards back on top, 3-2, with a leadoff solo home run in the top of the sixth inning, his tenth of the year. The Cards threatened to add to the lead when Schumaker singled and was sacrificed to second. Schumaker advanced to third on a wild pitch by Morton, and right-hander Grilli replaced Morton and ended the threat.

Pittsburgh knotted the score at three in the bottom of the seventh. Cedeno doubled and moved to third on an infield single by Fryer. Cedeno then scored on a double-play groundout by pinch hitter Steve Pearce.

The Cardinals squandered a golden opportunity in the top of the eighth inning. Laird led off with a double off Resop. But Descalso missed a bunt try and Fryer picked Laird off at second.

"That's not his fault," La Russa said. "The ball is in the strike zone and you step that way. Descalso is one of our best fundamental players and I think the first pitch was on the inside corner, which is a tough pitch to bunt to the third baseman. That's a tough read, because if you don't get a little bit of a move then you are not going to get to third base."

St. Louis closed out the nine-game road trip with a 4-5 record. Comments