Adams, Cardinals walk off Pirates in opener

Adams, Cardinals walk off Pirates in opener

ST. LOUIS -- On the night A.J. Burnett passed Sandy Koufax in career strikeouts, he and Lance Lynn recreated one of those fabulous Bob Gibson-Koufax pitching duels of the 1960s. The right-handers bequeathed a tie game to their respective bullpens, and Matt Adams' 10th-inning, two-out RBI single off Rob Scahill gave the Cardinals a 2-1 walk-off win over the Pirates on Friday in St. Louis in the season's first match between teams expected to fight it out for the National League Central title.

Matt Holliday had been issued an intentional walk by the right-handed Scahill to load the bases for the lefty-hitting Adams, who drilled a 1-1 pitch into left field for the winner.

"[Holliday] had some history, he was 3-for-3 against Rob," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, "so we thought we'd take a shot with a guy who hasn't seen him. It didn't work, so that's on me."

Burnett's seventh strikeout of the game -- of Holliday in the sixth inning -- was the 2,397th of his career, passing Koufax for 42nd place on the all-time list. It also was his last whiff, as he went six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, but remained winless despite a 1.45 ERA. More >

Burnett passes Koufax

After Burnett himself had singled for a run in the sixth, Lynn pitched out of an ensuing bases-loaded, none-out jam to keep his deficit at 1-0.

Burnett's RBI single

"When you get the bases loaded with two, three, four up and had already given up one and don't give up any, I'd take that anytime," Lynn said.

Lynn went seven innings -- departing for pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds, whose single tied it at 1. Lynn fanned 10, while walking one and allowing four hits and a run.

Reynolds ties the game

Pirates whiff on big chance: The top of the sixth evolved as a cruel joke on Burnett's lack of run support. After Burnett himself singled for a run, the Bucs went on to load the bases with no outs -- and couldn't get him any more against Lynn. Josh Harrison popped out, Andrew McCutchen was called out on strikes, and Neil Walker fanned swinging.  More >

Lynn escapes bases-loaded jam

Reynolds comes through: The Cardinals signed Reynolds in the offseason to supply power off the bench. The signing paid off in the seventh, but not in the way that was expected. Instead of going deep, Reynolds reached on a well-placed grounder up the middle that scored Jhonny Peralta to even the score at 1. More >

Matt Attack: The Matts sparked a two-out rally to win the game in the 10th. Jon Jay started the rally with a single and moved to third on Matt Carpenter's double. Holliday was intentionally walked, leading to Adams' RBI single to score Jay.  More >

"A win's a win," Adams said. "However we can do it, whether it was Matt [Holliday] coming through with a hit or whoever, it was just a good win for the team."

"I can't wait to throw again. Absolutely." -- Burnett, on whether being winless despite his impressive numbers discourages him, or makes him eager to get back on the mound

"I think he would argue and say special pitchers don't put themselves in that spot, but he is becoming one of those special pitchers. ... We had the middle of the lineup where he got into that spot. That to me just shows what kind of pitcher he is. I still don't think this league gives enough credit to the kind of pitcher that he is and he's going to continue to show people." -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, on Lynn escaping the sixth inning

Matheny successfully challenged a seventh-inning call of a double play, keeping alive a Cardinals rally. With two on and none out, shortstop Jordy Mercer caught Yadier Molina's flare in shallow left, and his throw to Walker at second was judged on time by second-base umpire Mark Wegner to double-up Peralta. Upon Matheny's challenge, the call was overturned. After Kolten Wong fanned for what otherwise would've been the inning ending out, Reynolds sent his tying single up the middle.

Cardinals win challenge

The Pirates had a challenge of their own of a play at second the next inning, with a different outcome. Sean Rodriguez tried to stretch a one-out single to right and was called out on Jason Heyward's throw. After review, the call was confirmed. A crew chief review in the ninth was more favorable to the Pirates. Walker was called out at first for an inning-ending double play, but upon review the call was overturned, continuing the inning, although the Bucs couldn't capitalize.

Walker safe after review

Pirates: Francisco Liriano, who has won both of his decisions in Busch Stadium, part of a 4-1 career mark against the Redbirds, gets the start Saturday at 1:15 p.m. CT. The Buccos have had few looks at ex-American Leaguer John Lackey, but Francisco Cervelli and Pedro Alvarez have both homered off him.

Cardinals: Lackey got the win in his lone start against the Pirates last season, giving up one run over seven innings. For his career, Lackey is 1-1 against the Pirates with a 4.15 ERA.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.