Mercer lifts Bucs past Cards in 11

Pittsburgh Pirates' Jordy Mercer (10) celebrates with teammate Josh Harrison (5) after driving in the game-winning run with a single off St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Seth Maness in the 11th inning, as Cardinals shortstop Jedd Gyorko (3) walks off the field in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The Pirates won 6-5 in 11 innings. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jordy Mercer singled home Gregory Polanco from second base with one out in the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Polanco, who agreed to a $35 million, five-year contract earlier in the day, drew a walk from Seth Maness (0-1) with one out and made it to second on Josh Harrison’s infield single. Mercer slapped a single to right for his fourth career game-ending hit.

Kyle Lobstein (1-0) pitched two innings of relief for the win. Andrew McCutchen had three hits for Pittsburgh. Mercer, Harrison and David Freese had two hits each.

Jedd Gyorko hit his first home run for St. Louis. Stephen Piscotty went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.

Cardinals relievers retired 18 straight batters before Polanco’s walk started the winning rally.

Pittsburgh left-hander Jon Niese, acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Mets for popular second baseman Neil Walker, labored through five innings in his first start in a color other than blue and orange.

Niese gave up five runs, four earned, and five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. The defense behind him didn’t help.

Polanco took a wide route on Piscotty’s shot to the gap in the fifth that turned into a triple, and Piscotty scored as Mercer threw wide to first on a grounder to shortstop by Matt Holliday, putting the Cardinals up 5-3

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha, who won his first seven decisions in 2015 en route to his first All-Star appearance, struggled with his curveball and Pittsburgh pounced. Wacha gave up five runs, four earned, in 4 1/3 innings, leaving after four straight Pirates reached.


Cardinals: St. Louis placed outfielder Tommy Pham on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain he aggravated in Sunday’s opener.

Pirates: Gerrit Cole’s bumpy spring training appears to be behind him. The All-Star will make his first start of 2016 on Saturday in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh brought its ace along slowly after Cole dealt with rib issues in January.


Cardinals: Mike Leake will make his debut with St. Louis today when the series wraps up.

Pirates: Juan Nicasio hopes to build off his impressive spring when he makes his first start for Pittsburgh. Nicasio beat out veteran Ryan Vogelsong for the final spot in Pittsburgh’s starting rotation after pitching 15 shutout innings in Grapefruit League play. The 29-year-old is 21-20 with a 5.12 ERA as a starter.