ST. LOUIS -- Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was given the day off Wednesday after starting the first 23 games of the season.
"He was on pace to play 155 [games]," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Nate McLouth started in center for the first time this season.
McCutchen, who has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, sports a .377 lifetime average in St. Louis.
"You never want to sit out," McCutchen said. "But I'm sure it's going to benefit me later on. Nothing wrong with taking a game off every once in a while."
McLouth, who is making his fifth start this season, has been struggling, entering the game with a .174 average. He is 0-for-8 as a pinch-hitter.
"I've been getting beat on pitches that I shouldn't be getting beat on," McLouth said. "Maybe this will help. Get a few hits, get things going."
Tabata feels right at home at Busch Stadium
ST. LOUIS -- Jose Tabata wouldn't mind playing the Cardinals 162 times a year.
The Pirates outfielder loves to torch the Redbirds on a regular basis.
Tabata, who is 33-for-101 (.326) against St. Louis after Wednesday's 12-2 loss, continued his assault under the Gateway Arch on Tuesday with a first-pitch home run off Adam Wainwright in a 10-7 loss.
Tabata used some information from a first-inning strikeout against Wainwright to his advantage.
"He got me out early and I said to myself, 'If I see that pitch again, I'm going to put a good swing on it.' He threw it and I wanted to make sure I made good contact," Tabata said.
Wainwright was surprised by Tabata's aggressive approach.
"I couldn't believe he hit the first pitch," Wainwright said.
Tabata reached safely in his first 17 games against St. Louis. He has hits in 23 of 26 career games and took the collar only three times -- on Wednesday, on April 21 of this season and Aug. 25, 2011.
Tabata says he is confident hitting in Busch Stadium.
"I feel like this is my house here," he said. "I don't know why. I see good here and I'm comfortable here."
Tabata has nine career home runs, the last two coming against St. Louis.
"He hits these guys really well, it's no secret," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's matched up against the Cardinals very well in his short career."
Pirates showing resiliency, if not consistency
ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates have followed the win-one, lose-one trend in each of their last 12 games heading into play Wednesday.
Second baseman Neil Walker sees that as a positive situation.
"I think it says that we're a pretty resilient team and that's a good character trait to have," Walker noted. "Bouncing back after a loss, especially on the road, is something that you have to do to get where we need to be."
The fight-back string began after a loss to St. Louis prior to consecutive wins in Arizona on April 17-18.
"If you look for good, you find good, if you look for bad, you find bad," manager Clint Hurdle said. "The guys are looking for good. We'd like to put together a complete package where we run off some wins in a row."
The Pirates are 8-7 after a 2-6 start which included a five-game losing streak. They have yet to win three in a row and have just a pair of two-game winning streaks.
"When we lose, we're just hungry to come back and win as soon as we can," outfielder Jose Tabata said.
Manager Clint Hurdle has been pleased with the way his team has reacted after losses. Before Wednesday's game, the locker room was upbeat, with classic rock playing the background. The players appeared to be loose -- yet focused.
"After [a loss], we self-evaluate and then we're done with it and we move on," Hurdle said. "You've got Steely Dan, Boston playing in the clubhouse. It doesn't get much better than that."
Pittsburgh scored a combined 16 runs on Monday and Tuesday after just 49 runs over the first 21 games this season.
"We knew the hitting would eventually come around," said third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who slammed a home run in both of the high-powered eruptions.
Pirates' starters have a 2.95 ERA and have been charged with two earned runs or fewer in 17 of 23 games.
Steve Overbey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.