Rookie Lane Thomas smacked a grand slam to rally the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11-9 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Thomas' slam in the seventh inning off reliever Kyle Crick (3-7) capped a five-run rally that erased Pittsburgh's 8-4 lead.
The Cardinals won their eighth consecutive game against the reeling Pirates, who lost for the 24th time in their last 28 games. Paul Goldschmidt went 4-for-5 with three RBIs for the Cardinals. He is hitting .387 with seven homers and 22 RBIs against the Pirates this season.
Pirates slugger Josh Bell hit two homers. He went 5-for-10 in the series with two doubles, two homers, four runs and four RBIs. Both starting pitchers struggled. Steven Brault allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings for the Pirates and Miles Mikolas allowed six runs (five earned) in five innings for the Cardinals.
John Gant (8-0), the fourth of six Cardinals pitchers, picked up the victory in relief with a scoreless inning. Andrew Miller earned his fourth save despite allowing Pablo Reyes' homer in the ninth. Bell's first-inning homer put the Pirates up 2-0. Goldschmidt countered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run blast.
The Pirates took a 4-2 lead in the third inning. Bell looped a single that right fielder Jose Martinez misplayed, allowing one run to score. Melky Cabrera followed that error -- the first in nine games for the Cardinals -- with an RBI groundout. Goldschmidt's RBI single cut the Pirates' lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the third inning. Thomas tied the game with a two-out triple in the fourth.
Bell's second homer put the Pirates up 6-4 in the fifth. Adam Frazier's two-out, two-run single then put the Pirates up 8-4 in the sixth. But the Cardinals stormed back when Crick lost control in the seventh. Andrew Knizer was hit by a pitch to force home one run and Thomas' grand slam put the Cardinals ahead.
Dexter Fowler, who entered the game after Jose Martinez exited with right shoulder discomfort, added a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Right-hander Clay Holmes came off the injured list and prevented further damage with a scoreless inning. Right-hander Parker Markel was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis before the game to make room for Holmes.
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