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St. Louis at Pittsburgh

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St. Louis (71-57) «0000220004102
Pittsburgh (68-60)000200100392

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Mike Matheny was almost in awe when he talked about Matt Holliday's home run.

"He killed it," the St. Louis Cardinals manager said. "It's hard to hit a ball that hard the opposite way but it was still going up when it hit the seats. He really hit it."

Holliday's homer was not only impressive but important as it broke a sixth-inning tie Monday night, and along with Kyle Lohse pitching five scoreless innings for his eight straight win, it helped lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Holliday led off the sixth inning with his 24th homer, a drive to right field off A.J. Burnett that put St. Louis ahead for good at 3-2.

"It always feels good to hit the ball on the barrel, especially on a pitch up in the strike zone," Holliday said. "It was an important game for us. It's not to the point of the season where it was a must-win game but it was a good game to win."

St. Louis, which has won six of seven, moved 2½ games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost 10-0 at Colorado, for the second NL wild-card berth. Pittsburgh fell three games behind the Cardinals with its sixth loss in seven games.

Lohse (14-2) pitched five innings before being lifted following a 34-minute rain delay in the top of the sixth. He allowed two runs and five hits while striking out three and walking none.

"It was a really tricky to decide whether to leave Kyle in the game," Matheny said. "The rain delay wasn't all that long but he was at 83 pitches and he had run the bases. I just thought it was the right call to take him out."

Lohse has not lost in 13 starts dating to June 15 and raised his career record against Pittsburgh to 9-2. He had an RBI single in the fifth inning.

Lohse did not fight Matheny's decision to lift him, especially after being thrown out at home plate while trying to score from first base on Matt Carpenter's double to end the top of the fifth inning.

"I don't want to ever come out of a game but it was the best thing to come out," Lohse said. "I didn't feel as strong as I normally would."

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen thought the rain delay worked to St. Louis' advantage because he felt Lohse was ripe to have his winning streak snapped.

"He wasn't locating as well with his pitches as he normally does," McCutchen said. "We were able to jump on him and get a couple runs off him in that one inning. We probably would have had another chance at him but that changed with the rain."

Burnett (15-5) gave up four runs, three earned, and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and one walk. He lost at home for just second time this season in 10 decisions and 13 starts.

"I felt good but I made two bad pitches at the wrong time," Burnett said. "Had I maybe thrown a hook to [Lohse] or kept the ball lower against Holliday then maybe things turn out different."

Holliday, Allen Craig and Skip Schumaker all had two hits for the Cardinals as did McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Clint Barmes for Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals added a run in the sixth after Holliday's home run as Yadier Molina hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

The Pirates drew within a run in the seventh inning on Barmes' RBI double. They put runners on first and second in the eighth but closer Jason Motte came in and escaped the jam by getting Josh Harrison to hit into an inning-ending force play.

Motte retired the side in the ninth for his 31st save in 36 opportunities.

St. Louis had tied the score 2-2 in the fifth inning as Shumaker hit a run-scoring double and scored on the single by Lohse.

The Pirates scored the game's first two runs in the fourth on RBI singles by McCutchen and Alvarez after neither team produced a hit in the first 3 1-2 innings. Alvarez has 17 RBIs against the Cardinals this season.

"It hurt when they scored right after we did," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "One of [Burnett's] strengths all year has been the shutdown inning."

Instead, the momentum shifted to the Cardinals and Lohse can't help but think their current hot streak is coming at the right time for the defending World Series champions.

"We've felt for a long time that we've been due to play like we've been playing the last week or so," Lohse said. "We're playing really well now and it's the perfect time because we're coming down the homestretch. It's the right time of the year to win games like this."

Notes

Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker was a late scratch because of lower back stiffness. Harrison, who was scheduled to start at shortstop, moved to second base and Barmes was inserted into the lineup. ... St. Louis 3B David Freese did not start for a third straight game because of a bruised right wrist but he pinch-hit and struck out in the eighth inning. Matheny said last year's World Series MVP will likely return to the lineup Tuesday night. Carpenter started in Freese's place. ... Attendance was just 16,700 for what was arguably the biggest game since PNC Park opened in 2001. Pittsburgh is in contention this late in the season for the first time since 1997and has not had a winning season since 1992. ... St. Louis RHP Jake Westbrook (13-9, 3.67) will face Pirates RHP James McDonald (11-6, 3.73) on Tuesday night.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

A. McCutchen
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
St. Louis

M. Holliday
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF5010001 .313
Matt Carpenter, 3B3010103 .310
Matt Holliday, LF4121012 .311
Allen Craig, 1B4120001 .320
Carlos Beltran, RF4000013 .270
Yadier Molina, C3111001 .324
Skip Schumaker, 2B3121000 .317
    Lance Lynn, P0000000 .071
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
   a- David Freese, PH1000011 .298
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Rafael Furcal, SS4000012 .269
Kyle Lohse, P2011010 .098
    Daniel Descalso, 2B2000010 .221
Totals35410416  
a-struck out for Salas in the 8th
Batting
2B - Matt Carpenter (18, Burnett), Allen Craig (28, Grilli), Skip Schumaker (13, Burnett)
3B - Jon Jay (3, Hughes)
HR - Matt Holliday (24, Burnett)
SF - Yadier Molina (2)
RBI - Matt Holliday (90), Yadier Molina (62), Skip Schumaker (22), Kyle Lohse (2)
CS - Jon Jay (3, 2nd base by Burnett/Barajas)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Matt Carpenter (6, Throwing), Rafael Furcal (15, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle Lohse (W,14-2) 5522030 2.64
Lance Lynn (H,1) 1.1210000 3.89
Fernando Salas (H,6) 0.2000000 3.88
Mitchell Boggs (H,26) 0.2100010 1.96
Marc Rzepczynski0100000 4.61
Jason Motte (S,31) 1.1000010 2.57
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 83-56, Lance Lynn 27-19, Fernando Salas 10-5, Mitchell Boggs 10-7, Marc Rzepczynski 1-1, Jason Motte 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 3-9, Fernando Salas 1-1, Mitchell Boggs 1-0, Jason Motte 1-2
Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 20, Lance Lynn 6, Fernando Salas 2, Mitchell Boggs 3, Marc Rzepczynski 1, Jason Motte 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Tabata, LF4110002 .236
Travis Snider, RF4110011 .277
Andrew McCutchen, CF4021000 .345
Garrett Jones, 1B4000003 .281
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4020010 .240
Josh Harrison, 2B3111002 .238
Rod Barajas, C4000003 .199
Clint Barmes, SS3021010 .223
   a- Gaby Sanchez, PH1000000 .213
A.J. Burnett, P2000010 .061
    Jared Hughes, P0000000 .000
   b- Jeff Clement, PH1000001 .000
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
    Tony Watson, P0000000 .000
   c- Michael McKenry, PH1000010 .254
Totals3539305  
a-lined out for Barmes in the 9th
b-flied out for Hughes in the 7th
c-struck out for Watson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Clint Barmes (15, Lynn)
SF - Josh Harrison (3)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen (79), Josh Harrison (13), Clint Barmes (37)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Andrew McCutchen 1
E - Pedro Alvarez (21, Throwing), Clint Barmes (14, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
A.J. Burnett (L,15-5) 5.2743131 3.67
Jared Hughes 1.1200020 2.83
Jason Grilli 1100010 2.25
Tony Watson 1000000 3.92
WP - A.J. Burnett (5)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 93-59, Jared Hughes 25-16, Jason Grilli 15-9, Tony Watson 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 6-7, Jared Hughes 2-0, Tony Watson 3-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 24, Jared Hughes 6, Jason Grilli 4, Tony Watson 3
Game Information
Attendance - 16700
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Lance Barksdale