PITTSBURGH — Lance Lynn said he felt fine. He and the St. Louis Cardinals just slipped up Saturday night.
Lynn allowed eight runs in the first inning, and the Cardinals ended a four-game winning streak with an 11-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lynn (11-8) got two outs before being pulled after six hits and eight runs in his shortest outing since Aug. 13, 2015, also at Pittsburgh.
"There were a couple balls up, and then a couple things didn't go my way," Lynn said. "Unfortunately, that happens some nights. Usually, I'm able to get through it. Tonight it just kind of snowballed.
"It's that time of year where you feel good. I'm just happy I feel good, but I've got to hone it back in and make quality pitches."
St. Louis (81-73) remained 1½ games behind Colorado for the second NL wild card after the Rockies lost to San Diego.
The Cardinals are five games behind the Cubs in the NL Central after Chicago lost to Milwaukee, which is a half-game ahead of the Cardinals.
Tommy Pham gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead against Gerrit Cole (12-11) two batters into the game when he sent the first pitch of his at-bat over the center-field wall. Pham was 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
Then Pittsburgh got to Lynn. David Freese and Elias Dias each singled with the bases loaded before Jordy Mercer and Starling Marte each tripled to build an 8-2 lead. Marte also walked in the inning, and Adam Frazier doubled and walked in the inning.
"It looked like (Lynn) was just missing it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "(He) got into bad counts, too much movement, wasn't able to make the adjustments to get back on the plate. ... Then they were in a position where they needed big hits, and they kind of stacked them together to the point where he couldn't stop the bleeding."
Marte added another Pirates run with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, Mercer made it 10-3 with a double in the fifth and Freese also doubled to make it 11-6 in the eighth.
"They know what they want to do when they get up there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Sometimes when it happens, it looks easy. It looks effortless."
Even with two wins in its past three games, Pittsburgh (70-85) has lost eight of its past 10.
Cole (12-11) allowed five runs and seven hits for his first win since Aug. 26. He had lost three straight decisions.
On his 42nd pitch of the first inning, Lynn walked Frazier before Matheny pulled him in favor of reliever Josh Lucas. He had not allowed more than seven runs in a start this season.
Trailing 10-3 entering the sixth inning, Matheny tied a major league record by using six pinch-hitters in an inning in an apparent attempt to save his regulars for Sunday. The Cardinals scored three runs to cut the Pirates' lead to 10-6.