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By WES CROSBY
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a three-run homer off Alex Reyes in the ninth inning, sending the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Bryan Reynolds started the game-ending rally with a lead- off walk. After Colin Moran struck out swinging, Jacob Stallings walked and Tsutsugo drove Reyes’ next pitch deep to right.
“I was really only thinking about hitting a hard ball,” said Tsutsugo, who has homered five times on nine hits since signing with the Pirates on Aug. 16. “It’s really comfortable for me. The manager, the staff, my teammates. We joke around a lot and make it a really nice environment for me. It was really easy for me to transition in this team.”
Reyes (5-7) has allowed at least one run in four of his last six appearances.
Chris Stratton (5-0) got the win, striking out the side in the top half of the inning. Stratton and fellow relievers Chad Kuhl and David Bednar combined to allow one hit over four innings. “Our bullpen was outstanding, really kept us in the game,” manager Derek Shelton said. “Our guys don’t give up. To win that game today and come back against a team like that, that’s big steps for us. Those are important.” Pittsburgh earned a split of the four-game series, bouncing back from a 13-0 loss Saturday.
St. Louis remains 3 1/2 games back of Cincinnati for the second NL wild card. The Reds lost 2-1 to the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
“It hurts like crazy,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “It hurts everybody that’s invested in our team. It hurts our team. It’s tough. We’re fighting our tails off. We don’t have a lot of margin for error is probably a big part of this. We do all these little things right, but we don’t create a lot of margin for error.”
The game was tied at 1 before Tommy Edman hit a two-run homer for St. Louis in the fifth, sending a 418-foot drive into the seats in right- center. Edman’s ninth homer of the season gave him nine RBIs in his past four games.
Edman also doubled and scored on Tyler O’Neill’s first major league triple in the third.
The Pirates opened the fourth with three consecutive singles, and Tsutsugo got his team on the board with a sacrifice fly.
Pittsburgh right-hander Wil Crowe, who allowed five hits in five innings, had left for the clubhouse by the time
“I think Chad (Kuhl) said, “How about a Yoshi bomb here?'” Crowe said. “We were all like, ‘Yeah, we would love that, wouldn’t we? That’d be awesome.’ Sure enough, he hit it and we started hearing the broadcast yelling. I ran over. Wow, that was awesome. Yoshi’s awesome.”
Kwang Hyun Kim pitched four innings of one-run ball for St. Louis in his return to the rotation. Kim, who made his last appearance out of the bullpen, got the start after Jack Flaherty was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.
“Before the game, my mindset was being aggressive, attacking the zone,” Kim said. “That was before I was on the mound. But after I was on the mound, I gave up a walk and it just didn’t happen the way I wanted to. I wanted to pitch five innings. … I know I have to be better next time as an inning-eater.”
PAIR OF GEMS
With two out in the third, a line drive by Pittsburgh’s Kevin Newman appeared to be head- ed for the gap in left-center. But center fielder Harrison Bader made a diving grab at the end of a full sprint, robbing Newman of Pittsburgh’s first hit.
Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado took a hit away from Wilmer Difo in the eighth, diving to his right to make a snag on the hop. He threw to first from one knee for the out.
Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes left after the sixth inning with a right hand contusion. He is considered day to day after initial X-rays came back negative, Shelton said. … OF Michael Chavis did not play after leaving Saturday’s game with right elbow discomfort.
Cardinals: LHP Jon Lester (4-6, 5.27 ERA) will take the mound Monday for the first of a three-game series at Cincinnati. After allowing 11 runs in his first two starts for St. Louis, the 37-year-old has surrendered six runs in three starts since.
Pirates: A starting pitcher has not been announced for Tuesday, when Pittsburgh begins a two-game set at the Chicago White Sox.