Before the start of the game Friday night, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he hoped to get six innings out of starter Jonathan Sanchez.
He didn't get one inning. Or even one out.
Sanchez was ejected in the first inning, the first of three Pirates ejections in a 9-1 loss to the Cardinals Friday night at Busch Stadium.
And to add injury to insult, Neil Walker will be out at least one week -- maybe even longer -- after getting gashed by a cleat in his right hand.
This was not the way the Pirates envisioned starting a three-game series against the current leaders of the National League Central Division.
After giving up back-to-back homers and a single to start the game, Sanchez hit Allen Craig with a 92-mph fastball on his left shoulder. Home-plate umpire Tim Timmons ejected Sanchez immediately, then sent Hurdle to the clubhouse after he stormed out of the dugout to protest.
"You've got two home runs and then you've got a line-drive single up the middle, and then the very first pitch is up around the shoulder and head area," Timmons told a pool reporter. "He threw intentionally at him, and in that area I deemed that intentional and he's done. Very dangerous."
Timmons warned both benches after Craig was hit, but Pirates catcher Russell Martin said he believed Sanchez should have been warned, not ejected.
"It looked like he meant to hit the guy -- with anybody else, you could say that," he said. "But with Sanchez, when he gets amped and he wants to make a pitch and put a little extra on it, you see him overthrow and misses his spot.
"Obviously it looks pretty bad because he gave up a couple homers and gave up three hits in a row."
Sanchez said he was trying to pitch inside after failing to locate his pitches over the plate. Hurdle said he believes his pitcher did not intend to hit Craig.
"Timmons thought he was throwing at his head," Hurdle said. "And we disagreed."
St. Louis starter Lance Lynn twice hit Pirates leadoff batter Starling Marte, which prompted another ejection from Timmons -- this time, Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell. After the second incident, in the fifth inning, Bell yelled from the dugout that Lynn should be tossed. After a back-and-forth shouting match, Timmons tossed Bell, instead.
"He wouldn't stop talking," crew chief Mike Winters said.
Marte said he did not think Lynn was trying to hit him, but that didn't make many in the Pirates dugout feel much better about the incident.