St. Louis, MO – Allen Craig hit a two-run homer and Yadier Molina added a solo shot as the St. Louis Cardinals edged the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-4, to avoid a three-game series sweep.
Matt Holliday and Shane Robinson also drove in runs for the Cardinals, who snapped a three-game slide.
"There was certainly an urgency today," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's what the good teams do. They have that sense of urgency every time they walk out there."
Jake Westbrook (7-6) allowed four runs on nine hits and a walk over six innings to earn the win.
Jason Motte pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to record his 17th save of the year.
Erik Bedard (4-9) gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings to take the loss for Pittsburgh, which saw its four-game win streak come to an end.
"That's the way it goes when you're not going good. All the good pitches are hit and, hopefully, it'll change," Bedard said.
Michael McKenry had a three-run home run in a losing effort.
The Cardinals struck first in the second inning when Molina, who was named the starting catcher for the National League in the All-Star Game earlier Sunday, lifted a solo home run to left-center field.
The Pirates left the tying run on third in the third inning, squandering Alex Presley's one-out triple, before St. Louis added to its lead in the bottom of the frame on Craig's two-run shot to center field.
Matt Carpenter singled prior to Craig's 11th homer of the season.
Pittsburgh, though, answered with a four-run fourth inning to take the lead.
Neil Walker started the rally with a leadoff single, advanced to third on Drew Sutton's double and came home on Clint Barmes' base hit to center field. McKenry followed with a blast over the left-center field wall to give the Pirates a 4-3 advantage.
But the Cardinals regained the lead in the fifth inning after Carpenter was hit by a pitch to start the frame and rounded the bases on Holliday's double to left. Holliday then moved to third on Craig's groundout and came home on Robinson's base hit to give St. Louis a 5-4 edge.
The Pirates left runners in scoring position over the next three innings, but their best chance to push runs across the plate came in the eighth inning.
Pedro Alvarez opened the inning with a single and Sutton followed with a base hit before Barmes' sacrifice bunt placed runners on second and third with one out.
But Mitchell Boggs induced a foul out towards the first base side by McKenry before Motte entered and retired Josh Harrison with a fly out to center field to end the threat.
Motte then returned for the ninth and struck out two in a 1-2-3 frame to seal the win for St. Louis.
Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal and outfielder Carlos Beltran will join Molina in the starting lineup at the All-Star Game. Starting pitcher Lance Lynn was also elected to the Midsummer Classic, while Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan also earned All-Star bids...Bedard struck out Holliday in the first inning for his 1,000th career strikeout...Westbrook improved to 1-5 in 11 career appearances (seven starts) against Pittsburgh...McKenry's homer in the fourth inning gave the Pirates a home run in nine straight games. It is their longest such streak since hitting a homer in nine straight from June 10-19, 2008.