June 28 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Max Kranick was on track for a pristine pitching debut before a sixth-inning rain delay spoiled his bid for a perfect game Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kranick threw three strikeouts over five perfect innings in the 7-2 win in St. Louis. Rain then soaked the field at Busch Stadium, which prompted an hour-long delay and Kranick's departure from the mound.
"I was tunneled in," Kranick told reporters. "It was a crazy feeling, an unbelievable feeling. I'll remember this day forever."
The Pirates won three of four games in the National League Central division series. The Cardinals (37-41) have lost six of their last seven to drop to fourth place in the division. The Pirates (29-47) are 6-4 over their last 10 games.
"It couldn't have been any better in terms of executing his fastball and going right after a good lineup," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Kranick. "He was very impressive. It was unfortunate that the rain stopped him."
Right fielder Gregory Polanco and left fielder Ben Gamel each homered for the Pirates. Gamel and Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier recorded three hits apiece.
The Pirates got off to a quick start with a three-run first inning. Frazier walked in the game's first at-bat and Ke'Bryan Hayes followed with a single to center field.
Bryan Reynolds then plated Frazier with an RBI single. The Pirates scored their second run on a passed ball from Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
Cardinals starter Johan Oviedo walked three of the next-five batters to bring in the third Pirates run.
Oviedo retired the next eight Pirates in order, but ran into more trouble in the fourth. Gamel and Frazier each reached on singles. Hayes and Reynolds then brought in Gamel and Frazier with RBI singles to give the Pirates a 5-0 edge.
Polanco smashed a 404-foot solo homer off Cardinals relief pitcher Jake Woodford in the second at-bat of the fifth. Gamel hit a 417-foot solo shot off Woodford two at-bats later for a seven-run edge.
Kranick retired Tyler O'Neill, Molina and Tommy Edman in order to end the inning before the lengthy delay.
Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado plated Dylan Carlson on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly when play resumed. Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong brought in the final run with an RBI single in the eighth.
Pirates relief pitcher Duane Underwood allowed three hits and two runs in three innings. David Bednar issued one walk, but did not allow a hit or a run in the ninth inning of the victory.
Oviedo allowed six hits and five runs in four innings to drop to 0-4 in 2021.