ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lance Berkman hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals overcame a pair of deficits to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on 5-4 on Friday night.
All of the Cardinals’ runs came via the long ball, with Yadier Molina hitting a three-run homer in the second off James McDonald. Matt Holliday walked with one out in the eighth against Jose Veras (2-4) before Berkman hit his 30th homer.
Andrew McCutchen had three hits and an RBI for the Pirates, who have dropped seven of 10 and are in a 10-27 tailspin since July 19 when they were seven games above .500.
Berkman reached 30 homers for the sixth time in his career, leaving him one behind teammate Albert Pujols for the NL lead, coming off a career-worst 14 homers in an injury-plagued 2010. The Cardinals’ 3-4-5 hitters had been 0-for-8 with three walks before the homer.
St. Louis wore throwback 1985 jerseys in honor of Willie McGee bobblehead night, with the fan favorite center fielder throwing out the first pitch while accompanied by Ozzie Smith and Vince Coleman.
Kyle McClellan (10-6) struck out two in two perfect innings for the Cardinals. The Cardinals overcame a shaky start from Jake Westbrook, who gave up three runs in the first and matched his season-high with five walks.
The first four Pirates reached safely in the first, with McCutcheon and Ryan Doumit getting an RBI apiece, and Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
Molina’s fourth homer in seven games and 12th of the year, adding to a career best, tied it in the second. He has three homers and eight RBIs against the Pirates.
McDonald had been bidding to beat the Cardinals for the second time in three starts. He was lifted after Rafael Furcal’s single to start the seventh, leaving up 4-3.
Notes: Fans lined up at least four hours before game-time to get the McGee bobbleheads. “That’s the kind of tribute he deserves,” manager Tony La Russa said. … Pujols had three walks Wednesday night, two of them intentional and scored three runs. The Cardinals are 60-1 when Pujols scores three times. … Chris Carpenter (8-8, 3.57) is 12-2 with a 2.33 ERA against the Pirates heading into Saturday’s start against Brad Lincoln (0-0, 4.58).
Copyright Associated Press