The third try was not the charm for Jake Westbrook and his pursuit of career win No. 100. After throwing six scoreless innings and leaving with a 2-0 lead, the Cardinals’ bullpen gave the lead away as St. Louis lost 5-3 to the Pirates Saturday evening.
“I have had many ups and downs in my career,” Westbrook said. “Everybody wants to be successful and get the job done. They (the bullpen) are not different and I understand.”
Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny was pleased with Westbrook’s effort.
“It was a nice start by Jake,” Matheny said. “He got us in a good spot where it was not a big lead, but enough to try and get it over to the guys in the pen and they couldn’t get it done today.”
In his first attempt at No. 100, Westbrook was rained out. Westbrook then took a loss against Philadelphia. Back at home for the first time since earning win No. 99, Westbrook pitched well enough to win.
Westbrook scattered six hits and walked none while striking out six.
“I was able to get some early outs and stay out of trouble for the most part,” Westbrook said.
The Cardinals (14-9) scored first when National League runs scored leader Matt Carpenter crossed home plate on a Matt Holiday double play.
The game stayed 1-0 in St. Louis’ favor through the bottom of the sixth when Jon Jay reached on a two-out double. Jay scored to put the Redbirds up 2-0 on Pete Kozma’s single.
With 91 pitches already thrown by Westbrook, Matheny went to his bullpen.
“Even though we were only in the sixth,” Matheny said, “it looked like he was working pretty hard and getting to the part of the lineup, especially with (Pedro) Alvarez in particular who has given him so much trouble.”
Westbrook was not ready to come out of the game though.
“I always feel like I can go back out there,” Westbrook said. “But with the numbers (Pedro) Alvarez has against me - I might be putting words in Matheny’s mouth - but he is hitting .500 in some pretty good number of at bats. So, at the time, it was pretty understandable I guess.”
Joe Kelly (0-1) took over on the mound and lasted five batters. Alvarez singled and on the first pitch to Russell Martin, Martin tied the game at 2-2 when he sent the ball 404 feet into the right field seats.
“I made some bad pitches up there,” Kelly said. “Martin hit the home run and a single opened it all. They came out swinging.”
Page 2 of 2 - The home run was the eighth allowed by the Cardinals’ bullpen this year. The starting rotation has allowed just five homers.
“Our starter gave us a great chance,” Matheny said. “You hate to see it slip away.”
Another single, followed by a strikeout and a walk and Kelly was done.
“It stinks for Jake,” Kelly said. “He pitched his butt of and for me to come in there and blow his win, I mean he has been right on the whole season. He has great numbers and is 1-1.”
Trevor Rosenthal came in and hit the first batter to load the bases. Andrew McCutchen walked with the bases loaded to score Clint Barmes and Garrett Jones grounded out to second allowing Starling Marge to score.
Pittsburgh (14-10) added a run in the eighth. Martin doubled with one out and Barmes walked. A wild pitch then moved Martin to third. Gaby Sanchez then drove Martin in with a sacrifice fly.
Following a one-out single from Shane Robinson, recently called up Jermaine Curtis made his major league debut in the bottom of the ninth. Curtis struck out on eight pitches. Robinson scored on a two-out double by Carlos Beltran before Holiday grounded out to end the game.
The Cardinals and Pirates will face each other in the rubber match of the three-game series today at 1:05 p.m.