ST. LOUIS — Yadier Molina coaxed a two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth to bring up Jon Jay.
Adams and Peralta had both gone down on check swings, and Molina’s walk had come on a 3-2 count.
Jay wouldn’t wait long, flaring a 1-0 pitch into short left to put two men on for Peter Bourjos.
With the winning run on second, Bourjos punched a ball up the middle into center. Molina rounded third and tore home, with McCutchen’s throw racing him there.
The Cardinal catcher slid in just in time, beating the tag by a step and giving the Cardinals a 1-0 victory.
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Trevor Rosenthal preserved the tie in the ninth, allowing the first man to reach but getting a double play and an infield pop up to close the inning.
He threw only 11 pitches, making him able to go another inning if needed.
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Carlos Martinez came on handle the eighth, and reached a spot of trouble with a leadoff walk to pinch hitter Gregory Polanco.
He rebounded by striking out Josh Harrison for the first out, then got help from Kolten Wong on the second.
The rookie second baseman made a diving stop going to his left on a sharp grounder form Andrew Lambo, stealing an out back and keeping Polanco from reaching third.
Andrew McCutchen stepped in to face Martinez with two out.
What followed was a 10-pitch at bat that saw the Cardinal reliever hit 98 twice, throw breaking pitches away, work up and down and eventually get the former MVP to whiff on a curveball for the third out.
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Jon Jay set the table again in the seventh inning, drawing a walk to lead things off. Peter Bourjos sacrificed him to second with a bunt and Oscar Taveras was tapped to pinch hit.
Miller’s stellar outing ended with seven innings of shutout work, three hits and five strikeouts.
The Pirates countered with lefty Tony Watson, an All Star reliever used to neutralize southpaws. Matheny made a counter move, sending righty Randal Grichuk to the plate in place of Taveras.
The potential game-winning run was taken away when Jay was caught stealing third. The Cardinals pondered a review, but ultimately thought better of it. On the next pitch, Grichuk struck out.
Miller encountered a jam of his own in the seventh inning, surrendering a leadoff double to Neil Walker.
A deep fly ball to right allowed Walker to tag to third, and Miller intentionally walked Ike Davis to get to Starling Marte.
Marte hit a shattered-bat liner right to Wong for the second out, and the inning closed with a rope by Jordy Mercer right to Peter Bourjos.
Both teams are still scoreless.
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The Cardinals joined the hit column in the fifth, tying the Pirates total in the first two hitters of the inning.
Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos both singled, and Miller bunted the two runners into scoring position next.
However, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong struck out with men on second and third to end the charge as quickly as it began.
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It’s about as fast a game as the Cardinals could hope for on getaway day, with a pitcher’s duel setting a brisk pace.
Shelby Miller and Edinson Volquez are cruising, the former allowing just two hits and the latter sill posting a goose egg in that column.
The Cardinals have managed four base runners, two of which are Matt Holliday. The fourth inning saw Holliday and Matt Adams get hit back-to-back with one out, making it the biggest threat St. Louis has mounted all game.
Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina both made quick outs behind them to end the inning.
For their part, the Pirates have four, but only one advanced to second base.