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Connor Joe and Oneil Cruz drive in 9th inning runs and Pirates beat Cardinals 2-1

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Connor Joe and Oneil Cruz drove in runs in the ninth inning, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Colin Holderman (2-0) gave up two hits but no runs in the eighth and David Bednar earned his 14th save by pitching the ninth despite giving up a first-pitch leadoff home run to Nolan Gorman.

“That was a good baseball game,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “The ninth inning was really well played. We got guys on base. We played situational baseball there.”

Bednar has converted 13 straight save opportunities and his 75 saves are the seventh-most in team history.

Both starters were splendid and neither gave up a run.

Miles Mikolas threw 84 pitches and gave up one hit over seven innings, striking out six and walking one. He took a no-hitter into the seventh but lost it when Bryan Reynolds led off with a triple off the wall in dead center.

“I don't know if I'd rather lose it (no-hitter) earlier or not,” Mikolas said. “Either way, it's tough. Get through the six and see it's a no-hitter, you think, well get through the lineup one more time. Sometimes it seems more feasible than it acutally is.”

Mikolas retired the first 16 batters he faced before walking Yasmani Grandal on a full count with one out in the sixth.

Pittsburgh rookie Paul Skenes pitched 6 1/3 innings and threw a career-high 103 pitches, 74 for strikes. He allowed five hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.

“He was extremely efficient,” Shelton said. “Overall, he was very impressive. We continue to see growth out of Paul.”

The Cardinals just couldn't solve Skenes, St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said.

“I felt like we threw some tough at-bats on him," Marmol said. ”He made pitches at the right time. He did his job."

The Cardinals began the fifth with back-to-back singles by Nolan Arenado and Matt Carpenter. Skenes pitched out of the jam by striking out two before getting a groundout.

“That was good. That's the game,” Skenes said. “You get yourself into stuff and get yourself out of stuff. It was nice to get out of that situation.”

The top overall draft pick last season, Skenes, 22, has not given up more than three runs in any of his first six career starts.

“I had to execute really well. I had get batters out with different stuff each time through the order,” said Skenes, who got an ovation from the Cardinal fans when he was pulled.

Ryan Helsley (2-3) loaded the bases to start the ninth. Jack Suwinski drew a walk and Andrew McCutchen singled before Helsley walked Reynolds on four pitches. Joe grounded to shortstop but Suwinski scored.

“I hit it hard there,” Joe said. “It was a tweener and Jack did a good job reading it and getting home with the run. That was big.”

Cruz's sacrifice fly drove in McCutchen.

“I kind of beat myself, you know,” Helsley said.

TRANSACTIONS

Pirates: Claimed RHP Dennis Santana off waivers from the New York Yankees. LHP Jose Hernandez has been designated for assignment to make room for Santana on the 40-man roster. … recalled RHP Ryder Ryan from Triple-A Indianapolis.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Quinn Priester (right lat muscle) is responding well to treatment. He is currently asymptomatic and is resting before he resumes throwing.

Cardinals: INF/OF Tommy Edman (wrist surgery) took batting practice for the first time with the team before the game. … LHP Steven Matz (lower back strain) was scheduled to make his second minor league rehab start Tuesday night with Double-A Springfield. He was expected to throw 40 pitches. … RHP Giovanny Gallegos (right shoulder impingement) was scheduled to throw one full inning and starting a second for Springfield.

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Bailey Falter (3-3, 3.69 ERA) allowed five runs in four-plus innings and lost an 11-7 decision against the Dodgers last Thursday.

Cardinals: RHP Sonny Gray (7-4, 3.21 ERA) pitched his shortest outing of the season at 4 2/3 innings and issued a season-high four walks in a 3-2 home loss to Colorado.

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