ST. LOUIS -- It was about an hour before first pitch Tuesday night when Steven Brault realized he wasn't ready for his Major League debut.
The Pirates believe in Brault's stuff, and the 24-year-old lefty proved in four solid innings at Busch Stadium that he can command three pitches against a tough lineup. They believe in his makeup, too. Brault was confident, surprisingly free of nerves.
With Jeff Locke's glove on his right hand, Brault held the Cardinals to two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out five over four innings in the Pirates' 5-2 victory. Brault's pitch count -- 82, more than he'd thrown since May 2 -- was the only thing standing between him and five innings and a win in the Majors.
"They ran some deep counts on him to stretch him out, but he did not give in. He stayed aggressive," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He made pitches. ... I thought he did a very good job."
With about 20 family members and friends in attendance, Brault took a moment to look around the ballpark and soak in the atmosphere when he first took the field. He had trouble putting away hitters, but he didn't get hit hard; the only run charged to him came as a result of an Aledmys Diaz walk and stolen base followed by a Matt Holliday single.
Brault became the first Pirates pitcher since 2011 to throw at least four innings allowing one or zero earned runs in his Major League debut; the last Pittsburgh pitcher to do so against St. Louis was Tim Wakefield in 1992.
Not bad for a guy who joined the Pirates as a player to be named later in the Travis Snider trade and began last season in the Class A Advanced Florida State League.
"A whirlwind. It's kind of a blur. It's been so much fun," Brault said. "I've been surrounded by great guys. The Pirates are a great organization. They've given me opportunities, and I've taken advantage of them. I just want to continue to do that going forward."
Jameson Taillon won't return from the disabled list until after the All-Star break, but Brault wasn't sure Tuesday night if he'll get to make another turn through the rotation, scheduled for Sunday at PNC Park.
But at least his glove is on the way from Indianapolis to St. Louis.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.