For the second day in a row the Cardinals used a dramatic late inning home run to put away a game against the Pirates.
On Thursday Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer to put the game out of reach for St. Louis after Albert Pujols was intentionally walked. On Friday, after the Birds trailed the whole game, Lance Berkman hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the eight to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead that Kyle McClellan nailed down in the ninth.
The Redbirds looked like they would spoil Willie McGee bobblehead night when starting pitcher Jake Westbrook gave up a walk a double and a single to make it 2-0 Pirates before he could record an out. The defense was unable to turn a double play opportunity by half a step to make it first and third with one out so a long fly ball became a sacrifice fly instead of the third out of the inning and the Cardinals were down by three before they came to the plate for the first time.
In the bottom of the second Holliday walked and third baseman David Freese singled with one out. Catcher Yadier Molina, who has already established a single season personal best for home runs, cranked a ball down the left field line for his 12th round tripper of the year to tie the game.
The Birds surrendered a run to the Bucs in the fourth to fall behind 4-3. And the score stayed that way until the eighth inning as the Cardinals could only manage six hits on the night.
Albert Pujols struck out as he attempted to check his swing to start the bottom of the eighth. But Holliday walked to put the tying run on base and give Berkman a chance to put the club ahead. In dramatic fashion, the former Astro launched a ball to right field for his 30th homer of the season to put St. Louis ahead for the first time of the night.
McClellan, who pitched an uneventful top of the eighth, stayed in the game in the ninth to preserve a victory for himself and improve to 10-6 for the season.
After his rough start Westbrook settled down and at least kept the Cardinals in the game. He gave up a total of four earned runs on seven hits over six innings.
The bullpen pitched a total of three perfect innings. In addition to McClellan's work, Arthur Rhodes pitched a perfect frame.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Berkman
Cardinals Play of the Game: Berkman's game winning homer
Lowlight: Westbrook's lousy first inning