Wellemeyer Struggles in Loss to Bucs

The Pittsburgh Pirates may well suffer a record-setting 17th consecutive season with a losing record, but the wheels won't be greased in St. Louis.

After the Cardinals had won eight straight season series from the Pirates from 2000-07, the Pirates beat them 10 times out of 17 last year and have won two of the first three games from St. Louis this year.

Right-hander Todd Wellemeyer, who allowed 17 runs over 20 innings in his final four spring starts, all lasting five innings, wasn't much better Wednesday night. Again, he lasted five innings, giving up five runs and 12 hits, albeit some of them scratch singles.

"(Wellemeyer) really struggled," manager Tony La Russa said. "He left a lot of balls over the middle of the plate. His command wasn't there."

The Cardinals had seven leadoff hitters out of nine reach base, but only four of them scored. They also ran themselves out of an chance in the ninth when Joe Thurston, after doubling to make the score 7-4 with nobody out, tried to make third when the relay throw to the infield went astray. He was tagged out.

"Overenthusiastic," La Russa said. "I just told him you've got to play the scoreboard. That was run No. 5. He knows."

PIRATES 7, CARDINALS 4: Four Cardinals pitchers surrendered 17 hits, including four each by 2B Freddy Sanchez and SS Jack Wilson. Only two Cardinals had two hits -- rookie 3B David Freese, who had the first two hits of his big-league career, and 2B Joe Thurston, who had two doubles, giving him three over the last two nights.

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