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Pirates Lose Despite James McDonald's Dynamite Start

Sports Network | September 29, 2010


St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - P.J. Walters tossed seven scoreless innings and Allen Craig went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in St. Louis' 4-1 win over Pittsburgh to take a three-game set at Busch Stadium.

Walters (2-0), making his third start of the season and first since June 1, scattered three hits and a walk for the Cardinals, who were eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday when the Reds wrapped up the NL Central.

"That was really impressive," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Walters' outing. "He's got great guts and a real good feel for pitching."

James McDonald (4-6) was the hard-luck loser, allowing one run on five hits while striking out seven for the Pirates, who had won seven of nine coming into this series.

The loss dropped Pittsburgh to 56-102 on the year, assuring the franchise the worst record in the majors this year.

Craig's homer cleared the left-center field wall in the fourth inning, and Walters didn't allow a runner to reach second until the sixth, when he got Jose Tabata on an inning-ending flyout to strand a pair.

The Cardinals pushed across an insurance run on Aaron Miles' RBI single in the seventh, then added two more in the eighth via Bryan Anderson's run-scoring base hit and Tyler Greene's sacrifice fly.

Ryan Franklin gave up a run in the ninth on Neil Walker's sac fly before closing out the game.

"We swung the bat terribly. We picked it up a little bit late, but it was too late," Pirates manager John Russell said.

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-3 with a walk, reaching base safely for the 24th straight game...The Cardinals open a season-ending four- game series at home against Colorado on Thursday, while the Pirates head to Florida for a four-game set with the Marlins. Pittsburgh needs two wins in that series to avoid matching the 1963 New York Mets' mark for the worst road record (17-64) over a 162-game season...Game time: 2:15.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.