Pirates snap skid with win in St. Louis

Sat Sep 5, 2015 1:50am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - Another excellent start from J.A. Happ helped the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 9-3 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

In trimming St. Louis' National League Central Division lead to 5-1/2 games, Pittsburgh (80-53) looked nothing like the team who lost three of their last four games.

Happ (8-7) piched seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out eight with no walks.

In improving to 4-1 since being traded from Seattle on July 31, Happ lowered his ERA with the Pirates to 1.57.

"His mix of pitches and his command were very good," manager Clint Hurdle said of Happ.

"The downhill angle on his fastball was very impressive. He's definitely grabbed our attention. He executed very well."

The Pirates scored twice in the first on RBI singles by third baseman Kang Jung Ho and Starling Marte before Marte ripped a two-run double in the fifth for a 4-0 lead, highlighting a 3-for-5, three-RBI game for the left fielder.

That was more than enough for Happ, who retired 15 successive batters after second baseman Kolten Wong lined a single to center in the second inning.

"I was pitching off my fastball and getting ahead of guys," Happ said. "I thought we mixed up our pitches pretty well. I tried to execute as best as I could."   Continued...

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher J.A. Happ (32) throws the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports