Musgrove uses arm, bat to beat Cards 8-1 in Pirates debut
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Joe Musgrove’s first game with the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t have gone much better.
On the mound. Or, at the plate.
Musgrove came off the disabled list to pitch seven scoreless innings while also getting his first career hit and scoring the winning run as Pittsburgh beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 on Friday night.
“It was a really exciting night for me,” Musgrove said. “Everything went well.”
The right-hander singled to lead off the sixth inning, when the Pirates scored three times off John Gant to break a scoreless tie. Musgrove came home on Josh Harrison’s double to center before Josh Bell hit a sacrifice fly and Corey Dickerson capped the inning with an RBI triple off Brett Cecil.
Musgrove (1-0) allowed five hits and struck out seven. He did not walk a batter while throwing just 67 pitches. Musgrove was activated before the game after being sidelined all season with a strained right shoulder. He was one of four players acquired from the Houston Astros in a January trade for right-hander Gerrit Cole.
“He relentlessly pounded the strike zone,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “If he didn’t get a strike on the first pitch, he got (one) on the second pitch.”
Musgrove had never faced the Cardinals and St. Louis manager Mike Matheny came away impressed.
“It didn’t look like he was missing a lot,” Matheny said. “Ball was jumping, had movement on it and put it where he wanted to.”
Gant (1-2) allowed just two singles through the first five innings before Musgrove led off the sixth with his single. Gant ended up being charged with three runs in 5 1/3 innings while giving up four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“The sixth, a couple things go on, but up until that point, what was there not to like?” Matheny said.
Francisco Cervelli broke the game open with a three-run double in the seventh inning that pushed Pittsburgh’s lead to 6-0. The Pirates won for just the second time in seven games, but improved to 12-5 inside the NL Central and 4-0 against St. Louis.
Tommy Pham accounted for the Cardinals’ run with an eighth-inning homer, his ninth, off Michael Feliz that snapped an 0-for-16 skid. St. Louis lost its third straight game.
Austin Meadows and Jordy Mercer hit back-to-back triples for the Pirates in the bottom of the eighth and Harrison singled in a run. Meadows is 13 for 29 (.448) with three home runs, five runs scored and five RBs in his first six career games.
“It’s been a lot of fun, playing with a great group of guys and having some things go my way so far,” Meadows said. “I really couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Harrison, Bell, Dickerson, Meadows and Mercer each had two of Pittsburgh’s 12 hits.
St. Louis’ Marcell Ozuna and Jedd Gyorko had two hits apiece. Ozuna returned to the lineup after being scratched from Wednesday’s loss to Kansas City when he overslept and arrived late to the ballpark.
KONTOS GETS DFA’D
Pirates right-handed reliever George Kontos was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Musgrove. Kontos was removed from his role as the primary setup man for closer Felipe Vazquez last week. In 21 games, he was 2-3 with one save and a 5.03 ERA.
Cardinals: LHP Tyler Lyons (mid-back strain) is expected to be activated from the DL on Saturday. ... RHP Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to be activated next week after pitching seven scoreless innings and striking out 13 for Triple-A Memphis on Thursday in a rehab start.
Pirates: CF Starling Marte (strained right oblique) went through a full workout before the game and could be activated Saturday. ... Cervelli (bruised right hand) returned after missing Thursday’s loss at Cincinnati.
Cardinals: Rookie RHP Jack Flaherty (1-1, 2.31 ERA) earned his first major league win Sunday when he had 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings against visiting Philadelphia.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (5-2, 3.05) has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 13 of his last 15 home starts, dating to June 27.
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