PITTSBURGH – Matt Carpenter hit his second pinch. three-run home run in as many days, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 on Friday night.

Carpenter connected off Duane Underwood Jr. in the sixth inning to put the Cardinals ahead 6-1 while batting for John Gant (2-2). Carpenter was batting .096 he he followed Tyler O’Neill’s single and Andrew Knizer’s walk with a drive to right-center for his third home run this season.

Carpenter took Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola deep Thursday in a game the Cardinals won 4-3 in 10 innings.

O’Neill had three hits, including a leadoff home run in the fourth inning. The drive cleared the bullpens in center field, to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

Nolan Arenado hit run-scoring bloop doubles in the first and third innings, the first Cardinals batter with two doubles in a game since Yadier Molina against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 9, 2019.

St. Louis won for the sixth time in eight games.

Gant gave up one run, three hits and five walks in five innings.

JT Brubaker (2-2) allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings, including an RBI single in the fourth by Kevin Newman, who had two of Pittsburgh’s four hits.

Pittsburgh scored twice in the sixth when Kodi Whitley relieved with the bases loaded and two outs, balked in a run and threw a run-scoring wild pitch that cut the Pirates’ deficit to 6-3.

After walking pinch-hitter Todd Frazier, Whitley escaped the jam by getting Adam Frazier to ground out.

Pittsburgh dropped to 12-13 with consecutive losses.

Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader made his season debut after beginning the year on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Bader is confident the forearm issue is behind him.

“I now have a routine that I’ve been doing for the past six weeks that has allowed me to put myself in a really good physical position to go out there and compete,” he said.

Rookie Dylan Carlson, who had been filling in for Bader, will play right field.

Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera pitched two perfect innings. It was his first appearance since hitting the Phillies’ Bryce Harper in the face with a pitch Wednesday night.

Cabrera sent a note of apology to Harper on Thursday saying the beaning was unintentional.

Pirates pinch-hitter Phillip Evans was ejected in the ninth inning by plate umpire James Hoye for arguing a called third strike.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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