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Rookie Flaherty shines again, Cardinals topple Pirates 4-1

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Jack Flaherty #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Jack Flaherty allowed four hits over six innings, Matt Carpenter hit his fifth home run of the season and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Saturday.

Flaherty (2-1) followed up a dominant performance against Philadelphia last Sunday by keeping the Pirates in check. Flaherty gave up Starling Marte’s long home run in the first but settled down quickly. The rookie struck out four, walked two and didn’t allow a runner to third base over his final five innings. Bud Norris worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save.

Carpenter finished 2 for 5, including a blast off Trevor Williams (5-3) leading off the game that cleared the right-field seats. Jose Martinez added three hits for the Cardinals, who bounced back from their most lopsided loss of the season on Friday night to topple the Pirates for the first time in five tries this season.

Williams lasted just four innings and 65 pitches, his shortest start of the season. The right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits with three walks.

Marte went 2 for 4 in his return from a stint on the disabled list with a strained right oblique. His shot off Flaherty in the first cleared both bullpens behind the fence in center field, clanging off a fence 447 feet away from home plate. The Pirates have dropped six of eight.

Flaherty overwhelmed the Phillies last weekend, tying a franchise rookie record when he racked up 13 strikeouts. He wasn’t quite as dominant against the Pirates but had little trouble after Marte’s blast.

Williams has been Pittsburgh’s most consistent starter during the opening two months of the season but struggled from the outset. Carpenter gave the Cardinals the lead two pitches into the game and Martinez followed with a double to right.

Williams only retired the Cardinals in order once, giving up an RBI single to Martinez in the third and a sacrifice fly by Francisco Pena and a run-scoring single by YairoMunoz in the fourth. Williams’ four innings of work marked his briefest outing since he pitched just three innings in a loss to St. Louis last August.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Dexter Fowler left the game in the fourth inning after being hit in the right knee with a 91 mph fastball by Williams. Fowler lay on the ground for several moments before being helped off by trainers and was replaced by Harrison Bader. The Cardinals said X-rays on the knee were negative and that Fowler will be re-evaluated on Sunday.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova is dealing with a sprained left index finger and could be placed on the disabled list. Manager Clint Hurdle said trainers discovered the injury after Nova allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a loss to Cincinnati on Thursday. Nova, who is 0-4 with a 7.61 ERA in May, is scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Miles Mikolas (6-0, 2.24 ERA) starts the series finale on Sunday. Mikolas threw his first career shutout in a 6-0 victory over Kansas City in his last start.

Pirates: Jameson Taillon (2-4, 4.56) will look for his first win since April 9 on Sunday. Taillon is 0-4 with a 5.83 ERA in his last eight starts.