Lynn, Cards beat Pirates
BY Associated Press
Saturday, April 21, 2012
4/21/12 at 5:35 AM
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A detour to the bullpen has made Lance Lynn a better starting pitcher.
Lynn allowed only an inside-the-park homer to Alex Presley in seven innings, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.
Filling in nicely for injured ace Chris Carpenter, Lynn (3-0) gave up four hits. He walked one and struck out four. He has won each of his starts this season and compiled a 1.42 ERA while Carpenter has been on the disabled list with a nerve problem in his pitching shoulder. Lynn pitched primarily in relief last season as a rookie when St. Louis won the World Series.
"What I did when they moved me to the bullpen last year was challenge hitters, get ahead in the count and make them hit my pitch," Lynn said. "When I was starting, I tried to nitpick. I'd get behind in the count and have to give the hitters good pitches to hit. I learned a lot from pitching out of the bullpen. I'm more aggressive and more confident now as a starter."
Lynn showed that aggressive approach against Pittsburgh as he needed 88 pitches to get through seven innings. He allowed four hits and one walk while striking out four.
"Efficient is the right word," Lynn's manager Mike Matheny said. "He had good life on the ball and later in the game he really mixed in all his pitches. He had a good tempo, a good rhythm with (catcher Yadier Molina). He really kept them off balance."
Presley led off the bottom of the first with a drive off the top of the center field fence, the ball just eluding a leaping center fielder Skip Schumaker. Jack Wilson hit the Pirates' only other inside-the-park home run at PNC Park on July 2, 2004, and the last Pittsburgh player to hit one was Freddy Sanchez at Houston on July 21, 2008.
"I wasn't expecting it," Presley said. "I thought I had a triple for sure, and when I saw him miss it, I think he got hurt out there and couldn't get up, that helped my chances a bunch. It was one of those things."
Schumaker, who said he thought he would be able to play Saturday, was shaken up on the play and left the game. He had been activated from the disabled list prior to the game after missing the first 13 games because of a strained right oblique.
"Obviously it was not the debut I was looking for," Schumaker said with a half-smile. "First of all, I should of caught the ball. Second of all, I couldn't breathe. Coming off an oblique injury and getting your ribs rattled wasn't something you wanted to do."
Lance Lynn tossed seven innings for St. Louis in a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday. Lynn is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA this season. DON WRIGHT/Associated Press