Yadier Molina drove home a key run in his 16th consecutive Opening Day start as the St. Louis Cardinals held off the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Friday night.
Molina’s milestone set a major league record for a catcher on one team. He had been tied with Bill Dickey, who started in 15 openers for the New York Yankees (1930-43, 1946).
Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (1-0) allowed two runs in seven innings to earn the victory. He picked up where he left off last season when he went 7-2 with a 0.91 ERA over his last 15 starts.
Ryan Helsley threw a scoreless eighth inning for the Cardinals and Kwang-Hyun Kim, making his major league debut, survived the Pirates’ ninth-inning rally to earn the save.
Tyler O’Neill and Dexter Fowler hit solo homers off Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (0-1), who allowed three runs in his 5 2/3 innings while suffering the loss.
Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals and Jacob Stallings and Jose Osuna hit two-run singles for the Pirates.
O’Neill’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the third inning to put the Cardinals up 1-0 and Fowler’s leadoff homer in the fifth made it 2-0. Kolten Wong hit a two-out triple later that inning, but he was thrown out trying to score on a throwing error.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a one-out single in the sixth inning and took second on a wild pitch. One out later, Molina greeted reliever Clay Holmes with an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0.
The Pirates loaded the bases in the seventh inning on one-out singles by Josh Bell, Colin Moran and Osuna. Flaherty struck out Guillermo Heredia, but Stallings pushed a single through the right side to cut the Cardinals lead to 3-2.
DeJong’s two-run homer in the eighth inning restored the three-run margin, but that did not last long.
Bell reached on an error leading off the ninth, Moran hit a double and Osuna’s two-run single cut the Cardinals lead to 5-4. But Kim got a double-play grounder to end the game.
–Field Level Media