In the quest to secure their first winning season since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates apparently have forgotten how to win. Losers of three in a row, the Pirates look to regain first place in the National League Central on Sunday, when they wrap up their three-game series with the host St. Louis Cardinals. Andrew McCutchen collected two of his team's three hits on Saturday as Pittsburgh limped to a 5-0 setback and fell one-half game behind St. Louis.
David Freese belted his second homer in three games while Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso had RBI singles as the Cardinals defeated the Pirates for the second straight game. Freese's blast was just the fifth by St. Louis in 18 contests against its division rival. Pittsburgh, which has gone deep 19 times in that span, owns a 10-8 advantage in the series.
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Charlie Morton (7-3, 3.00 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Michael Wacha (2-0, 3.20)
Morton recorded his fourth straight victory - and third in as many starts - by handcuffing Milwaukee for the second straight outing. The 29-year-old allowed one earned run over seven strong innings in a 5-2 win on Monday. Morton settled for a no-decision against St. Louis on Aug. 13 after permitting two runs on seven hits in six frames.
Placed on a strict innings count, Wacha was pulled from his last start on Tuesday against Cincinnati despite scattering three hits over six scoreless innings. The 22-year-old hasn't allowed a run while permitting seven hits over 12 2/3 frames in his four appearances. Wacha struck out four in two scoreless innings versus Pittsburgh on Aug. 14.
1. Kozma has hit safely in two straight games after going 0-for-33 since Aug. 11.
2. After going 1-for-12 in his previous series versus the Cardinals (Aug. 30-Sept. 1), McCutchen is 3-for-6 with a double in the last two contests.
3. St. Louis 2B Matt Carpenter went 0-for-3 to see his seven-game hitting streak come to an end. He is 1-for-5 versus Morton.
PREDICTION: Pirates 5, Cardinals 4