The roller coaster ride that is the St. Louis Cardinals is still heading uphill.
With a third-consecutive win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at home coupled with a Brewers loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in Milwaukee, the Redbirds pulled within one game of first place in the National League Central Division.
The Cardinals won 5-2 thanks to another strong pitching performance by starter Lance Lynn coupled with multiple hits from Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Oscar Taveras.
St. Louis scored two runs in the first when Adams doubled in a pair before being thrown out at third trying to stretch his two-bast hit into a triple. After that, the Cardinals never looked back. The Pirates scored a run in the second to make the score 2-1 and the Redbirds answered in the third. In the fourth the Pittsburghers put a tally on the scoreboard to cut the Birds lead to 3-2. But the Cardinals again answered to take a 4-2 advantage.
Kolten Wong homered for the second-consecutive night to give the Cardinals an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. And in the ninth Trevor Rosenthal was able to slam the door after issuing a lead-off walk. Peter Bourjos hauled in the last out at the left centerfield wall to guarantee at St. Louis series win in the four-game set against the Pirates.
Lynn pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs. He improved to 10-6 on the season with a 3.14 ERA. He walked two and struck out four.
The only sour note of the game came when catcher Yadier Molina sprained his thumb sliding into third base while advancing on a throw across the diamond. He initially remained in the game but came out an inning later. Hopefully the problem isn't serious. But a sprain can really go either way and be nothing -- or else it can be a lingering injury.
The win keeps the Cardinals half a game ahead of the Cincinnati Reds who have had their way with the hapless Chicago Cubs the last couple of days.