ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jack Flaherty pitched seven solid innings, Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer and the St. Louis Cardinals opened the season by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Friday night.
Tyler O’Neill and Dexter Fowler added solo homers for St. Louis in the first game of an unprecedented 60-game season shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Flaherty, who went 7-2 with an 0.91 ERA over his final 15 regular season starts last year, did not give up a run until Jacob Stallings hit two-out, two-run single just under the glove of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh.
St. Louis, which won the NL Central with a 91-71 mark last year, built up a 3-0 cushion on homers by O’Neill in the third and Fowler in the fifth.
Yadier Molina added a run-scoring hit in the sixth.
Prior to the game, Pirates outfielder Jarrod Dyson took a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice. He was joined by Shelton, who moved from the end the line to stand by his player.
Molina made his 16th straight opening day start at catcher. He is second in franchise history behind Stan Musial, who started in 18 consecutive curtain raisers.
Pirates: OF/INF JT Riddle is on the 10-day injured list with a strained abdominal muscle. … OF Gregory Polanco is out after testing positive for the coronavirus on July 17.
Cardinals: INF/OF Brad Miller is on the 10-day injured list with right ankle bursitis.
Pittsburgh RHP Trevor Williams will face RHP Adam Wainwright in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday. Williams was 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA in 26 starts last season. Wainwright is 16-8 with 4.24 ERA in 42 career appearances against the Pirates.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports