Brendan Donovan HR gets Cardinals past Pirates

Brendan Donovan delivered a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning as the host St. Louis Cardinals edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series.

Paul Goldschmidt also went deep for St. Louis, which took the deciding game of the three-game set. The Cardinals had alternated wins and losses over their past eight games entering Thursday’s contest.

Donovan’s leadoff blast gave Chris Roycroft (1-0) his first major league win. Roycroft got the last out of the sixth and the first of the seventh. The Cardinals’ Matthew Liberatore logged two-thirds of an inning, Ryan Fernandez worked around a walk to strike out three in the eighth and Andrew Kittredge notched his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth.

Masyn Winn and Jose Fermin each had two hits and one run for St. Louis.

Oneil Cruz finished with two RBIs as Pittsburgh lost for the third time in four games. Pirates starter Mitch Keller (8-4) lasted six innings, giving up four runs and eight hits. He didn’t issue a walk and struck out four.

Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the third and Pedro Pages added an RBI single in the fourth to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead, which evaporated in the fifth.

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn allowed the first three batters of the fifth to reach, with Jack Suwinski and Michael A. Taylor sandwiching walks around a Yasmani Grandal single to load the bases with no outs.

Lynn responded by striking out Ke’Bryan Hayes, but Bryan Reynolds drove in Suwinski with a single.

That marked the end of the day for Lynn, who was pulled in favor of John King. Cruz greeted King with a two-run single to tie things at 3-all. Lynn yielded the three runs on four hits in his 4 1/3 innings, walking three with five strikeouts.

Pittsburgh failed to do more damage in the frame, as Edward Olivares grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Pirates right-hander Hunter Stratton departed in the eighth inning with an apparent arm injury.

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