ST. LOUIS -- 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.
"It's unfair," Martin said. "Sanchez probably didn't hit him on purpose, and Lynn didn't hit him on purpose, either, but he's still in the game, battling."
Hurdle declined to discuss his thoughts about the umpires' administration of discipline.
"My comments will be made to the people that got an ear that need to hear them," he said.
Walker left the game in the eighth after Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma landed on his right hand while turning a double play. Kozma's cleat left a deep cut near Walker's right index knuckle, a wound that did not injure any ligaments but required six stitches.
Speaking with his hand wrapped in a soft cast and blood on his pants, Walker said it could be six or seven days before the stitches can be removed. And it could be longer, still, before he is able to throw and swing a bat consistently.
"It's just one of those freak things," Walker said. "You try to play the game the right way -- you try to break up a double play -- and sometimes this stuff happens. But it's over. Hopefully it will heal quickly."
In the midst of these episodes, a baseball game broke out, and the Cardinals ran away with it.
Carlos Beltran hit two home runs -- one from each side of the plate -- and had three RBIs for the Cardinals (14-8), winners of four in a row.
The Pirates (13-10) managed just two hits off Lynn, who struck out nine and allowed one earned run over seven innings to pick up his fourth win of the season.
The Pirates had a chance to climb back into the game in the eighth. Trailing by four, they loaded the bases with one out. But Pedro Alvarez hit into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom half of the inning, the Cardinals poured on four more runs.
After his ejection, Sanchez was replaced by Jeanmar Gomez, who allowed three earned runs on three hits in 41/3 innings. Coincidentally, Gomez was ejected from a game in 2012 after hitting a batter in retaliation to a Sanchez beaning. Gomez, pitching for the Cleveland Indians, plunked Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas after Sanchez hit Shin-Soo Choo earlier in the game.
• Game: Pirates (Burnett 1-2) vs. Cardinals (Westbrook 1-1), 4:15 p.m.
• Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis.
• TV: Root Sports.
Michael Sanserino: email@example.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino.