St. Louis, MO – Pedro Alvarez hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning, and Clint Barmes also drove in two runs as Pittsburgh avoided a sweep with a 6-3 decision over St. Louis in the finale of a three- game set from Busch Stadium.
Jose Tabata added three hits and scored twice for the Pirates, who were coming off a series victory against the Braves.
Erik Bedard (2-4) worked five innings for the win, allowing five hits and two runs while fanning a season-high 11 batters.
"I was throwing pitches and they were swinging threw them," remarked Bedard.
Allen Craig drove in two runs and David Freese added a run-scoring double for the Cardinals, who lost for just the second time in their last seven.
Jake Westbrook (3-2) was touched in defeat for nine hits and four runs over 6 1/3 frames.
Pittsburgh moved ahead for good in the sixth, as Neil Walker hit a leadoff single and Alvarez launched his seventh homer of the year over the wall in center for a 3-2 lead.
Alex Presley's seventh-inning groundout plated Tabata -- who doubled with one out -- to make it a two-run contest. Barmes doubled home Garrett Jones in the eighth and Tabata came home on a Nate McLouth base hit in the ninth as the Bucs assumed a 6-2 edge.
Joel Hanrahan served up an RBI double to center from Craig with two down in the ninth, but fanned Matt Carpenter swinging to end the game.
"We're not thinking about winning a series, we're not thinking about sweeps, we're thinking about winning today's game," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "That's the way we're going to continue going about it."
Things looked brighter for the Cardinals early on, as Freese and Craig hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the home first.
The visitors responded in the fourth as Alvarez hit a one-out single, moved to second on a Jones groundout and scored on a Barmes double that deflected off Freese and rolled behind St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal.
Despite the setback, St. Louis has won four of six meetings this season over Pittsburgh and has taken eight of the last 12 against the Bucs since last August...Bedard has won two straight starts after dropping four in a row to begin the season...Westbrook hadn't allowed more than two runs in any of his previous four starts in 2012.