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STL@PIT: Bedard rings up seven in seven frames

PITTSBURGH -- Lefty Erik Bedard provided the Pirates with another decent pitching effort, but the offense was dormant as the Cardinals downed the Pirates, 5-1, on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

The victory gave St. Louis the rubber game of the three-game series.

Bedard tossed seven innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits. He recorded seven strikeouts and absorbed the loss, falling to 0-4 on the campaign.

"I battled in a lot of innings," Bedard said. "I tried to minimize damage when there were runners on and throw strikes. You always want your command better, but I got out of some jams and tried to throw strikes."

"I thought it was a very blue-collar effort by Bedard today," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He battled and gave us seven [innings] and allowed three runs. He was maybe just a tick off command-wise, but he was making pitches and he kept coming after them. I thought he gave us every opportunity to win the game. And we've scored two runs runs for Erik in his four starts -- that's problematic -- but he pitched a very good ballgame today."

Bedard has received almost no run support in his four losses.

"All you can do is battle," Bedard said. "Runs will come, and right now, they are just not coming, so you just keep doing what you can and try and put zeros up there."

St. Louis got a solid pitching effort from right-hander Kyle Lohse. He limited the Pirates to five hits and one run in seven-plus innings of work while upping his record to 3-0.

Lohse was very effective in his first three starts, and it was business as usual in this outing.

"It was pretty much the same," Lohse said. "I'm just pitching to my game plan, which is pitching ahead of guys, keep the ball out of the middle."

"He was at the bottom of the zone all day long," Pirates catcher Michael McKenry said of Lohse's performance. "It was a steady mix, you didn't know what was coming. He was using his breaking balls really well, throwing 2-1 sliders and curveballs. He was using every pitch very well today, and to the lefties, he was using his sinker and his changeup really well. He was keeping us on our toes, and that's what you've got to do as a pitcher."

The Cards nicked Bedard for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Rafael Furcal and Tyler Greene stroked back-to-back singles, and Matt Holliday drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Carlos Beltran grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, plating Furcal.

St. Louis increased its lead to 3-0 in the third. Furcal doubled and Greene walked. With two outs, David Freese singled to right, knocking in both runners.

"In the one situation on the single to Freese, Bedard had gone soft and threw him an assortment of offspeed stuff and tried to sneak a fastball by him," Hurdle said. "That young man is doing a pretty good job of driving in runs."

"The situational hitting, or lack thereof, almost got us again," Cards manager Mike Matheny said. "Fortunately, David came through and got that two-out hit the other way. You keep having those opportunities, and when you don't capitalize on them, it really starts to [frustrate you]. We were really kind of getting a little demoralized by not coming through in those [situations]."

The Pirates broke through against Lohse in the eighth. McKenry doubled and scored on a pinch-hit single by Casey McGehee, slicing the Cardinals' lead to 3-1.

The Cardinals tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth inning off reliever Evan Meek. Shane Robinson drew a walk and pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker singled. Furcal and Holliday then delivered RBI singles.

St. Louis entered the game 1-for-18 in the series with runners in scoring position.

"You're going to win ballgames if you drive in runs when guys are in scoring position," Freese said. "We had been fighting that a little bit, but that happens. I think what we did good today was we got on them early. Bedard had his curveball working, but then we put some runs across the board late."

Right-hander Mitchell Boggs and righty Kyle McClellan hurled the final two frames to close out the win for the Cardinals.

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