Lynn didn't exactly sparkle. Staked to a 10-1 lead after a two-run double by Holliday off reliever Bryan Morris in the third, Lynn seemed uncomfortable. Walker hit his first homer of the season to help get Pittsburgh within six runs, and the Pirates put two runners on in both the fourth and the fifth but couldn't chase Lynn.
The right-hander needed 99 pitches — and a pep talk in the fifth from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist — to get his way through 15 outs. It was a rare so-so performance by a St. Louis starter. The Cardinals began the three-game series with the best ERA by their starters (1.99) in baseball. St. Louis tossed 39 consecutive shutout innings last week before losing to Milwaukee in 10 innings on Sunday to snap a four-game winning streak.
Still, the first-place Cardinals managed to avoid their second losing skid of the season. The Pirates scored two and had two on with one out in the eighth against reliever Marc Rzepczynski, but Travis Snider meekly grounded out to the catcher and Andrew McCutchen followed with a chopper to third to end the threat as the Pirates couldn't duplicate their comeback victory over Cincinnati on Sunday, when they spotted the Reds a 5-0 lead before rallying for a 10-7 win.
NOTES: Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano pitched three shutout innings for Class-A Bradenton, striking out six. Liriano is recovering from a broken right (non-throwing) arm. ... St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said the team will stick with a closer-by-committee approach as it searches for someone to take over for injured Jason Motte. ... The Pirates moved catcher Russell Martin to third base in the fifth inning, his first appearance at third since June 2011. ... Jake Westbrook (1-1, 0.00 ERA) starts for St. Louis against Jonathan Sanchez (0-2, 12.96) on Tuesday night.