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Pirates Vs. Cardinals Recap: Pittsburgh Offense Produces Again, But Pitching And Defense Falter

After breaking out against the Braves to start the week, the Pittsburgh Pirate offense continued to produce on Tuesday in their series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. But the Bucs defense and pitching did not hold up their end, as the Cards scored eight runs over a three-inning stretch while Clint Hurdle's club committed four errors. After Monday, it was the second most runs Pittsburgh scored all year but it still ended with a 10-7 loss.

Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton was roughed up over his four-plus innings of work, allowing eight hits and five earned runs. He scuffled through the first four innings, but held the Cards to just two runs before the floodgates opened in fifth. World Series hero David Freese broke it open when he ripped a three-run shot to center to give St. Louis a 5-2 lead. Two batters later, Morton's night would be over after Allen Craig singled home Yadier Molina to make it 6-2.

The Pittsburgh offense, however, did not give in and chipped away at Adam Wainwright and a parade of Cards' relievers. Pedro Alvarez continued his red-hot week, hitting his fourth homer in seven days and going yard for the second straight night. Alvarez took Wainwright deep to right for a two-run shot that cut the lead to 7-4 in the top of the 7th.

St. Louis, however, would break it open again in the bottom of that same inning after a costly throwing error by catcher Rod Barajas, who threw wide of third on a double steal. Yadier Molina scampered home to make it 8-4. Jared Hughes then promptly coughed up a two-run shot to diminutive Rafael Furcal that put the Cards in double digits.

Undeterred, the Pittsburgh offense responded with three more runs in an interminable 8th inning. Garrett Jones singled home Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata. Alvarez then knocked in Jones with a sharp single to right, cutting the Cards lead back to just three. But Victor Marte, St. Louis' third pitcher of the inning, would induce a Nate McLouth groundout that ended the rally and gave way to the hard-throwing Jason Motte.

Motte slammed the door for a quick save, preserving the three-run win for St. Louis. With the offense, and particularly Alvarez, now rolling, the Bucs will look for a strong outing from A.J. Burnett in the second game of the series on Wednesday. The Cardinals will counter with the undefeated 4-0 Lance Lynn.

For more information on the Pittsburgh Pirates, check out the SB Nation blog Bucs Dugout. For a perspective on the team in the other dugout, check out the St. Louis Cardinals blogViva El Birdos. For more news throughout Major League Baseball, check out the SB Nation MLB Hub.

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