Pittsburgh, PA – Matt Holliday went 2-for-4 and hit a go- ahead solo home run in the sixth inning, as the Cardinals downed the Pirates, 4-3, in the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park.
Skip Schumaker had two hits, drove in a run and scored another, while Kyle Lohse (14-2) picked up the win despite rain shortening his start to five innings. The right-hander gave up two runs on five hits and has won eight straight decisions.
Jason Motte recorded a four-out save to close out the victory.
The NL Central rivals played a 19-inning marathon on August 19, one the Pirates won, 6-3. But since then St. Louis has won six of seven while Pittsburgh is entrenched in a 1-6 spiral.
A.J. Burnett (15-5) suffered Monday's loss after allowing four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"I wasn't able to have shutdown innings," Burnett said.
Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-4 with an RBI but was clearly limping after apparently turning his ankle making a play in left-center field in the fifth.
Holliday, left on deck when Lohse was thrown out at the plate to end the fifth, broke a 2-2 tie when he led off the sixth with an opposite-field blast.
"I like opposite-field home runs. It means my swing is in a good spot," Holliday said.
Small-ball kept the inning going, as Allen Craig singled, advanced on a throwing error by Clint Barmes and a groundout, then scored the eventual game- deciding run on Yadier Molina's sacrifice fly.
A hard-driving rain fooled Travis Snider on Molina's fly to right, forcing the umpires to suspend the game.
After a 34-minute delay, the game was in the hands of each bullpen.
Lance Lynn, forced into relief due to the emergence of rookie Joe Kelly, was pulled after yielding an RBI double to Barmes in the seventh.
Fernando Salas entered and stranded Barmes on second, while Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rzepczynski and Motte combined to work a scoreless eighth.
Motte retired the side in order in the ninth to secure his 31st save of the season.
Lohse set down the first nine batters he faced before giving up four singles in the fourth. A base hit by McCutchen knocked in Jose Tabata for the game's first run, and Snider scored on Josh Harrison's sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals answered with two of their own in the next half, but could have had more had a perfect relay throw from Harrison not nabbed Lohse at home. Lohse previously chopped a base hit through a drawn-in infield to plate Schumaker, who had doubled in Molina.
Lohse's ERA rose three-tenths of a point to 2.64, good for third in the National League. He improved to 9-2 lifetime against the Pirates ... Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was a late scratch due to lower back tightness.