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Pirates woes continue in 3-1 loss to Cardinals

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Adam Wainwright got off to a rocky start when his first pitch sailed over the right-field wall.

The rest of the game went a lot better.

Wainwright tossed six scoreless innings after Adam Frazier’s leadoff home run, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-1, on Saturday night.

Pittsburgh has lost seven in a row and dropped 23 of 27 games since the All-Star Break.

For the 37-year-old Wainwright, it has been a season of satisfaction after being sidetracked in the past with troubles in his right arm.

“It feels nice to be able to go out there, reach back on a fastball, look up, and see a number you used to see when I was pitching,” Wainwright said. “It’s good to execute.”

The contending Cardinals won their second in a row after ending a five-game losing streak.

“Give him the credit,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “He had good tempo, threw strikes, controlled counts, engaged your defense. This is not a real big secret: We’re always going to play better defense when our pitchers have that rhythm.”

Wainwright (8-8) allowed six hits and struck out eight. He improved to 6-2 this season at home.

“It’s fun when you can play his curveball with the 93-mile-per-hour fastball,” catcher Matt Wieters said. “We had a lot of success.”

Giovanny Gallegos pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief before yielding to Carlos Martinez, who got two outs for his 12th save in 15 chances.

Joe Musgrove (8-11) gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings to fall to 0-4 against St. Louis this season. He is the first Pirates pitcher with four losses to the Cardinals in a single season since Ryan Vogelsong went 0-4 in 2004.

“We can’t catch a break right now,” Musgrove said. “We hit the ball hard in a lot of situations tonight with runners on base and either hit it right at somebody, or they made a good play.”

Tommy Edman doubled in the Cardinals sixth and scored the go-ahead run when shortstop Kevin Newman’s relay throw to third evaded Colin Moran and rolled into the Pirates dugout.

“The throw needs more conviction,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The ball needs to get there. It needs to be not a short-hop bounce. Moran got caught in between, and, at the end of the day, if you’re a third baseman, you’ve got to do everything you can to keep the ball in front of you. We weren’t able to do that. Third part of it, Musgrove’s got to be backing up.”

Paul Goldschmidt followed with a single, Marcell Ozuna doubled and Paul DeJong hit an RBI single.

St. Louis made it 1-1 when Ozuna grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and no out for the second straight night in the bottom of the first.

Pirates left-hander Stephen Brault (3-1, 4.09 ERA) opposes Cardinals righty Miles Mikolas (7-12, 3.94) in Sunday’s series finale. Brault is 2-0 with a 3.35 ERA in 10 starts this season and will be making his second start since being activated from the injured list.

Mikolas is 2-3 with a 1.59 ERA and has not allowed more than two runs in any of his five career starts against the Pirates at Busch Stadium.

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