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Paul Skenes excels again, Pirates rally late to beat Cardinals 2-1

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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.

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.

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Miles Mikolas threw 84 pitches and gave up one hit over seven innings, striking out six and walking one.

Mikolas took a no-hitter into the seventh inning but lost it when Bryan Reynolds led off with a triple off the wall in dead center. 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 103 pitches, 74 for strikes. He allowed five hits with eight strikeouts and no walks, and exited to a rare standing ovation for an opposing player at Busch Stadium.

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 the next two batters before getting a groundout.

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.

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. Cruz’s sacrifice fly drove in McCutchen.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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