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Cardinals at Pirates, Sept. 4

The Cardinals relentless whittling away of the magic number continued Friday even though starting pitcher Adam Wainwright's Cy Young dreams suffered a blow.

Coasting with a 5-0 lead midway through the game, the Pirates exploded for six runs in the sixth and briefly took the lead. But the Cardinals piled on nine more runs and took the game 14-7. Meanwhile, the Cubs tied the Mets late only to see New York score five funs in the bottom of the eighth to win 6-2. That leaves the Cardinals up by 11 1/2 games with a month to play and the magin number melts down to 17.

Wainwright pitched extremely well through four innings, getting out of a first and third jam with no one out in the second. But the Pirates had six hits and a walk in the fifth to put together a rallt that seemed like it would never end.

blog post photo

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright had his worst inning of the season, yet improved to 17-7 when St. Louis rallied Friday night to beat the Pirates. AP photo.

With two outs in the top of the sixth, Schu walked, Rasmus singled prior to Albert Pujols hitting a three-run homer that reclaimed the lead for St. Louis and eventually gave Adam Wainwright his 17th win despite some serious damage to his earned run average, going from 2.47 to 2.68.

Albert Pujols's homer his 43rd of the season. Matt Holliday also homered, his 11th with St. Louis to match the 11 he hit in the first four months of the season with Oakland.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Ryan Ludwick hit a pair of homers and a pair of doubles in a five-hit night. He drove in five and scored three, raising his batting average to .276 for the season. St. Louis had not yet seen it's new high octane offense hit on all cylinders. But it was impressive to see Pujols, Holliday and Ludwick all homer in the same game.

Lowlight: Kyle McClellan continues to struggle, surrendering three hits and a run in a single inning or work. Sometimes he looks so good. I'm not sure what has gotten into him lately. But I hope he can work it out before the post season.