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Pirates lose 4-3 to Cardinals, drop series

ST. LOUIS — Paul Goldschmidt and Brendan Donovan homered, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Thursday.

Donovan’s homer off Mitch Keller to lead off the sixth snapped a 3-all tie and extended his hitting streak to eight games as the Cardinals won back-to-back games for first time since May 29.

“A guy like that, you kind of want to catch him a little more out in front because he does have really good stuff, his stuff’s kind of breaking into you,” Donovan said. “So, you kind of want to be on time a little more out in front and you never know in this ballpark, but it snuck out.”

Lance Lynn went just 4 1/3 innings, snapping a string of four straight quality starts by Cardinals pitchers. Lynn allowed three runs on four hits, walked three and struck out five.

Lynn’s fifth strikeout of Ke’Bryan Hayes in the fifth, his final out of the outing, was his 987th as a Cardinal. it moved him past Matt Morris for sixth all-time in franchise history.

“I left another decent outing on the table by not getting through the fifth, but the bullpen picked me up like they’ve been doing all year and offense scrapped through,” Lynn said.

Chris Roycroft (1-0) earned his first major league decision as five different Cardinals relievers combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings. Andrew Kittredge earned his first save.

“I’m just at a loss of words right now,” Roycroft said. “It definitely means the world to me.”

Keller (8-4) allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. Keller struck out four and walked none as the Pirates lost for the third time in their last four games. The homers allowed to Goldschmidt and Donovan were the first home runs allowed in the last five starts by Keller.

“Mitch wasn’t very sharp,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “As good as he’s been, he just wasn’t overly sharp today and left a couple of balls in the middle of the plate and they capitalized and hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

It was the 45th straight outing of at least five innings for Keller, moving him into a tie with Ed Doheny (1903) for the fourth-longest such streak in Pirates history.

Goldschmidt’s two-run homer gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the third inning. It was Goldschmidt’s first extra base hit since June 3.

Jose Fermin got a two-out rally going in the fourth with his first major league triple before scoring on a Pedro Pages single to make it 3-0.

Bryan Reynolds’ bases loaded infield single scored Jack Suwinski and knocked Lynn out of the game in the fifth. Oneil Cruz greeted reliver John King with a two-run single to tie the game at 3.

“That was a very good game,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Our pen did a phenomenal job. We were able to piece it together.”

TRANSACTIONS

The Pirates activated RHP Dennis Santana and optioned RHP Ryder Ryan to Triple-A Indianapolis. Santana was claimed off waivers on Tuesday from the Yankees, where he had a 6.26 ERA in 27 1/3 innings.

TRAINERS ROOM

Pirates: RHP Hunter Stratton left the game with right shoulder tightness after pitching a third of an inning in the eighth. … INF Alika Williams (right wrist sprain) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis.

UP NEXT

Pirates: have not officially named a starter for the opener of a three-game series at Colorado on Friday night. The Pirates took two of three earlier this season against the Rockies, who will start RHP Ryan Feltner (1-5, 5.74 ERA).

Cardinals: RHP Kyle Gibson (4-2, 3.76 ERA) will start the first of a three-game series against at the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t officially announced a starter, on Friday. Gibson is 0-4 with a 6.84 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs, but he received three runs or less of support in all of those starts.

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