ST. LOUIS (AP) Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter homered, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Saturday night to gain ground in the NL Central.
St. Louis pulled within three games of division-leading Chicago with its sixth victory in seven games. Tyler Lyons (4-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win, and Juan Nicasio got three outs for his second save since he was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Carpenter’s 19th homer tied it at 3 in the seventh. Paul DeJong hit a leadoff double in the eighth and advanced on a groundout before coming home on Randal Grichuk’s bouncer to third, making it 4-3 St. Louis.
Chad Kuhl pitched six effective innings for Pittsburgh, which has dropped four in a row. Kuhl also helped himself with an RBI double in the second.
The Pirates grabbed a 3-2 lead on Adam Frazier’s inside-the-park homer in the seventh. Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler got hurt crashing into the wall going after Frazier’s drive, and the second baseman scored without a throw.
It was the first inside-the-park homer for the Pirates since Andrew McCutchen accomplished the feat on Sept. 10, 2014. It was the first in Busch Stadium since Edwin Encarnacion for the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 31, 2007.
Fowler departed a left knee contusion and was replaced by Grichuk.
St. Louis almost wasted a solid start for Carlos Martinez, who allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. The All-Star right-hander struck out Kuhl looking in the sixth to reach 200 strikeouts in a season for the first time. His previous high was 184 in 2015.
The Cardinals trailed 2-0 before Molina connected for a two-run shot in the second. It was just the 97th home run given up by the Pirates starters, second-lowest in the majors.
Kuhl gave up just two hits, both to Molina, but walked five. Only one of the two runs he allowed was earned. George Kontos (0-6) took the loss.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (left quadriceps irritation) threw and hit and is expected to start running on Monday.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow) began throwing from flat ground.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (11-12, 4.11 ERA) is two innings away from setting a career high for innings pitched in a season, which is 170 1/3 in 2012. He is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in two career starts against St. Louis.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (11-7, 4.21 ERA) has won his last two starts, going six innings and earning a quality start in each. He is 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA in 13 career games against Pittsburgh.