P.J. Walters pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and Allen Craig hit a solo shot to help the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
After allowing an infield single to Andrew McCutchen to start the game, Walters (2-0) set down the next 14 batters before Ronny Cedeno led off the sixth with a single to center field.
Walters worked four innings of relief last Thursday in Pittsburgh, where he allowed five runs and seven hits. But he was much sharper in his fourth career start, issuing just one walk and striking out four while dropping the Pirates to 16-61 on the road.
Neil Walker drove in the Pirates' only run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Bryan Anderson and Tyler Greene each went 2 for 4 and drove in a run for the Cardinals. Aaron Miles drove in the Cardinals' other run with an RBI single.
Having been eliminated from playoff contention the day before, the Cardinals started a lineup heavy on September call-ups and reserves. With no Albert Pujols (117 RBIs) or Matt Holliday (103 RBIs), St. Louis' starting lineup had driven in a total of 132 runs this year.
The Cardinals got on the board when Craig hit a 2-2 pitch just over the wall in left center with two out in the fourth off Pittsburgh's James McDonald (4-6). That was the only run that McDonald allowed, as he lasted six innings and allowed five hits with seven strikeouts.
St. Louis got what turned out to be the game-winning run in the seventh. Tyler Greene singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Randy Winn moved Greene to third with a ground out to first, Miles plated him with a single to right.
The Cardinals got two insurance runs in the eighth off Chan Ho Park when first baseman Garrett Jones' throwing error led to a first and third situation with one out. Anderson drove home a run with a single to right and Greene made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly to right.
Notes: McCutchen's infield single on the game's first pitch extended his streak of reaching base safely to 24 games. ... Prior to the game, the Cardinals activated pitcher Adam Ottavino from the 60-day DL. Ottavino was the team's No. 1 pick in 2006. ... The Pirates are 4-91 when trailing after eight innings. ... Mark Hamilton, playing 1B in place of Pujols, got his first major league hit when he followed Craig's home run with a single. Hamilton finished 2 for 4.
(This version CORRECTS Cardinals 4, Pirates 1; Corrects Walters' record to 2-0.)