Trevor Williams walked a tightrope in the early going and allowed only one run over seven innings as the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates hung on for a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night. Starling Marte's single to right field in the top of the eighth broke a 1-1 tie to make a winner of Williams (2-1), who allowed nine hits but walked only one while striking out five.
The tiebreaking rally off reliever Andrew Miller (1-2) came after the Cardinals tied the score in the seventh on an infield single by Paul DeJong. The hit took St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright off the hook for what could have been a tough-luck loss. Wainwright, who is 13-7 in his career vs. the Pirates, retired the final 10 batters he faced before leaving for a pinch hitter in the seventh. He also set down seven straight batters earlier in the game.
The Cardinals had a chance to again tie the score in the eighth. They put runners at first and third with no outs against Pirates reliever Kyle Crick, who recovered to strike out Dexter Fowler, then got Kolten Wong to bounce into a double play. Pirates lefty closer Felipe Vazquez worked a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 11 opportunities, although Matt Carpenter added some drama when he sliced a long fly ball that left fielder Bryan Reynolds caught just in front of the fence down the line.
Wainwright allowed only one run, a game-opening home run to Adam Frazier, but otherwise dominated. The right-hander surrendered only five hits, struck out eight, and didn't walk a batter. Frazier pulled an 87 mph fastball at the top of the strike zone over the fence in right field to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
The Cardinals put runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings against Williams, who has gone at least six innings in all eight of his starts this season. St. Louis, which finished only 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position, broke through in the seventh inning, bunching three soft singles to tie the score against Williams.
Williams, who began the night with a 6.10 ERA in his career against the Cardinals, and a 6.55 mark at Busch Stadium, lowered this season's ERA to 3.40. The Pirates ended a two-game losing streak, which included Thursday night's 17-4 pummeling by the Cardinals to open the four-game series.
(With inputs from agencies.)