Morton allowed one run on three hits, and he kept the Cardinals from making solid contact, racking up a remarkable 15 ground-ball outs. He relied very heavily on fastballs and sinkers, throwing many fewer breaking pitches and changeups than he threw last year. Basically, he looked like a different pitcher, and that bodes well for the Pirates’ season.
All the Pirates’ offense came in the sixth, as Neil Walker hit a two-run double and then Andrew McCutchen drove him home with a two-run bomb. Walker and McCutchen have both started the season very hot, with seven extra-base hits between them.
The Bucs took a three-run lead into the eighth, but more struggles from Evan Meek – who was the key culprit in the Pirates’ eighth-inning collapse against the Cubs Saturday – allowed two runs to come home. Manager Clint Hurdle pulled Meek after three batters, however, and Mike Crotta and Joel Hanrahan shut down the Cardinals for the last two innings.
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