Garrett Jones homered on a three-hit night and drove in three runs and Brian Burres pitched effectively into the sixth inning of the Pittsburgh Pirates' 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, who were eliminated from playoff contention earlier Tuesday night.
The out-of-town scoreboard was malfunctioning throughout the game, and there was no reaction when the official knockout punch for the defending NL Central champions — Cincinnati's 3-2 win over Houston — came with one out in the sixth and Pittsburgh leading 4-2. Instead of updates, fans saw restaurant ads, and house ads trumpeting the franchise topping 3 million in attendance and pushing merchandise for the team store.
Albert Pujols became the first Cardinal to walk 100 times in three consecutive seasons. Rookie Matt Pagnozzi homered off the facade in the second deck in left in the second for the Cardinals, who clinched at least a .500 record on Monday following a second-half swoon.
St. Louis was 12-6 against the Reds, but is 26-33 against the rest of the division and 46-50 against teams with a losing record.
Infielder Aaron Miles made his fifth career appearance as pitcher for St. Louis, working the ninth. The radar gun had the right-hander topping out at 71 mph but he allowed only a one-out double to Neil Walker.
Pinch-hitter John Bowker added a three-run double in the eighth off Mike MacDougal for the Pirates, who snapped a five-game road losing streak and won for the eighth time in 11 games overall. They are 16-61 on the road, by far the worst record in the league.
Jones' team-leading 21st homer, and first since Aug. 31, was the only hit in a three-run first inning against Jeff Suppan (2-8). He added an RBI single in the sixth off Trever Miller for a 4-2 lead and later doubled in the eighth.
Entering the game, Jones was a .196 hitter this season against St. Louis.
Burres (4-4) gave up one earned run in 5 2-3 innings to win an immediate rematch against Suppan, after lasting only 2 1-3 innings in a 9-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Sept. 23. He had no strikeouts Tuesday and has only one over eight innings in the St. Louis matchups.
Suppan allowed three earned runs in 5 1-3 innings, losing for only the fourth time in 20 career decisions against the Pirates. Both of his victories this season have come against Pittsburgh.
NOTES: McCutcheon is 14 for 33 his last 11 games. ... Pujols has drawn 319 walks the last three seasons. He leads the majors with 38 intentional walks this year. ... The Pirates have an extra-base hit in 40 straight games and have homered in nine of their last 13 games.