Adam Wainwright pitched into the seventh inning, Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong hit solo home runs and the St. Louis Cardinals ended a five-game losing streak, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 Saturday.
The 39-year-old Wainwright (6-5) again stepped up as the Cardinals' stopper. Since June 9, he has broken St. Louis skids of six, three, two and five games.
“When things are going bad, you have to keep fighting,” Wainwright said. “You have to expect things to turn around. When you give up is when it doesn’t turn around. We have quality big league players who have won before. When you stop believing is when it’s not possible."
Wainwright allowed one run and six hits, and was pulled after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh. He struck out eight and walked one.
“I like going out and pitching and competing. I like having something on the line,” Wainwright said. “I seem to excel in those situations most of the time. I like those spots. I like pressure. I get along great with pressure. If you’re not used to pressure, this is the wrong occupation for you. We needed a win today.”
Now in his 16th major league season, he has gone into the seventh inning in eight of his last 12 starts. Wainwright improved to 18-7 in 43 career outings against the Pirates, including 38 starts.
“We saw the breaking ball. He was able to execute it ahead of and behind in the count,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said about Wainwright. “That's what gave us a little bit of fits. He did a nice job of keeping us off balanced. This guy continues to redeem himself. It's a credit to him on how he takes care of himself. It's extremely impressive.”
Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. Reyes had a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 18 opportunities.
“The guys were in the right spots and they brought it home,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said.
JT Brubaker (4-7) gave up three runs on six hits in six innings.
“He did not have hit best stuff today,” Shelton said. “ Gave up two solo homers. He had to battle throughout the entire game. The fact that he was able to give us six innings and that’s a another sign this guy is going to be a good major league starter.”
Yadier Molina had two hits and drove in the other St. Louis run.
The Cardinals entered the game having dropped seven of eight and 18 of their past 24 games. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak to NL Central teams.
DeJong, back in the starting lineup after not playing Friday, put St. Louis ahead 2-0 with a solo home run in the second inning. The Cardinals scored in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by Molina.
“I’m just trying to help my team whenever I can,” DeJong said. “We got it done today and it feels good. I'm looking to drive the ball. It's in my natural ability. I don't have to do anything extra.”
Pittsburgh cut the lead to 2-1 when Gregory Polanco led off the fourth with a home run.
Goldschmidt, who also singled and drew a walk, hit a 470-foot homer to center field in the fifth.
“I hit it good and it carried out there,” Goldschmidt said. “We're trying to find a way to score some runs and win some games.”
In his previous at-bat, Goldschmidt just missed a homer as he flied out to the wall.
“That was just a four-seamer up and away,” Brubaker said about the home-run pitch to Goldschmidt. “He ambushed it. I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't just trying to lay a fastball in there, either. It was more of a surprising swing that he just hopped on. ”
Wainwright and Molina made their 288th career start as batterymates, fourth all-time since records were kept starting in 1908. Red Faber and Ray Schalk of the White Sox are third at 306.
With his back to home, 3B Nolan Arenado ran along the line into left field, twisted and caught Polanco's fly as he fell to the ground in fair territory in the eighth inning with a runner on second base.
“Huge play in a huge spot,” Wainwright said about Arenado's catch. “That could have been a double and one-run game. A big-time play by a big-time player. He makes our jaws drop every day. He’s amazing. I'm glad he's on our team.”
Pirates: RHP Trevor Cahill (left calf strain) has been slow to progress, the club said. He has not resumed throwing yet.
Cardinals: INF Edmundo Sosa was not in the lineup. He left the game Friday night with cramps in the sixth inning. ... CF Harrison Bader (right rib hairline fracture) started Friday in center, batted leadoff and went 1 for 3 in five innings at Single-A Palm Beach. Bader, 27, has missed 29 games since he was hurt May 24. Bader will stay through the weekend with Palm Beach. He will have a reevaluation Monday.
Pirates: RHP Max Kranick will be activated from Triple-A Indianapolis and will make his MLB debut. Kranick, 23, has made four starts with Indianapolis after a late May promotion..
Cardinals: RHP Johan Oviedo (0-2, 4.58 ERA) has one career start against Pittsburgh. He took a 2-0 loss last Aug. 27 in what was his second career start.