ST. LOUIS (AP) — Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer and tied a career high with five RBIs, Michael Wacha pitched eight strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0 on Sunday.
St. Louis, which has won three in a row and seven of eight, moved 2 1/2 games behind Chicago in the NL Central. The Cardinals are also 2 1/2 behind Colorado for the second NL wild card.
Randal Grichuk added a solo homer for St. Louis, which improved to 8-2 in September and moved to a season-high seven games over .500.
Pittsburgh dropped its fifth in a row and slumped to 10 games under .500 for the first time since the end the of 2011 season.
Molina pushed the lead to 4-0 with his drive off Ivan Nova (11-13) in the fourth inning.
Molina, who also drove in five runs on Sept. 17, 2010, against San Diego, had an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Wacha (12-7) allowed five hits while striking out seven and did not walk a better in getting his third win in three starts.
Nova gave up five runs and five in hits five innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
Pirates: INF Josh Harrison has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list with a fractured left hand.
Cardinals: OF Dexter Fowler was held out of the lineup Sunday with a left knee contusion after crashing into the wall on Saturday. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said there was, “significant swelling,” and was uncertain on his return. … OF Tommy Pham is still having vision problems and was held out of the lineup Sunday. He suffers from keratoconus and the problem is heightened during day games.
Pirates: LHP Steven Brault (0-0, 5.79) will open a three-game series at Milwaukee on Monday. He will be opposed by RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.52). Brault is making his second start. He was named the Most Valuable Pitcher in the International League after posting a 10-5 mark with a 1.94 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (10-7, 2.94) will start on Tuesday in the first of a three-game series against Cincinnati. He will face RHP Robert Stephenson (4-4, 5.15). Lynn has allowed one earned run in his last 14 innings.