It was only one game, but St. Louis' 8-4 triumph over a fading Pittsburgh club Thursday night meshed the three main ingredients the Cardinals have had so much trouble putting together in the same game.
Right-hander Edwin Jackson, despite a third-inning wild streak, turned in a decent start, giving up four runs, but only one earned run, in six innings.
The bullpen was spotless for the last three innings, notably right-hander Jason Motte, who ran his streak to 28 games in which he hasn't allowed an earned run. Motte stranded the potential tying run at third in the eighth inning when the Cardinals led by only one.
And there was clutch hitting. David Freese, who had been 2-for-20 and had grounded into a double play in his previous at-bat, blooped a two-run single to put the Cardinals ahead 5-4 in the fifth. Then, after Albert Pujols was walked intentionally for a second time in a row with two outs in the eighth inning, Matt Holliday, who had lined out in his previous at-bat, smacked a three-run homer into the visitors' bullpen to put the game away.
The win snapped a losing streak at three games and was just the Cardinals' third in their last 10 games, all against losing teams. In their previous two games, the Cardinals had been outscored 22-6 by the Dodgers.
"It's been a rough couple of days," Holliday said. "We came out with a little more energy.
"We have a really good team. Maybe we're not going to catch the Brewers ... but we should go out there and win the rest of our games. That's the kind of talent we have on this team. I expect us to play like this the rest of the way."
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