The Cardinals used an offensive boost and a couple of defensive presents from the Pirates Tuesday to scratch out a 10-7 win.
The Birds broke out to big leads twice, boosted by home runs from Matt Holliday and David Freese and a 2-for-4 night from Allen Craig in his first game of the season. But they had to hang on for dear life when Fernando Salas broke down with two outs in the top of the eighth and Pittsburgh turned a 10-4 deficit into the tying run at the plate.
In a game that should have never offered a save opportunity, Jason Motte was able to nail it down in the ninth and the Redbirds improved to 15-8.
The Cardinals' offense centered on three timely homers.
David Freese broke a tie in the fifth with a three-run shot to put the Redbirds up 5-2.
Holliday hit a homer in the bottom of the sixth to give the Cardinals some breathing room when the Pirates closed the gap to 6-4.
And Rafael Furcal hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to keep the pressure on Pittsburgh.
Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright continued to show signs of coming out of his early season funk. He crusied into the seventh inning with a 6-2 lead with only three hits allowed, one of them a two-run homer. But he started to leave his pitches up and surrendered a two-run homer to Pedro Alverez to make the score 6-4.
Salas relieved and looked like he would right the ship. But he walked two and then gave up three consective singles to make the game 10-7 with Nate McLouth at the plate and two on. J.C. Romero came in and got a ground out to first to end the threat.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Holliday was 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored and two batted in.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Freese's homer.
Lowlight: Salas' bullpen meltdown.