PITTSBURGH • The Cardinals had lost nine of 10 Saturday road games wearing the so-called “Victory Blue” uniforms made popular by the 1982 World Series champion club. But Adam Wainwright hadn’t pitched in any of those games _ he started and lost on the Saturday in Mexico when the Cardinals hadn’t packed the blues _ so he apparently did not feel the stigma attached to the garb.
Wainwright held the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run over seven innings and doubled to start a four-run third inning as the Cardinals beat the Pirates for the seventh time in eight meetings at PNC Park, 10-1.
Marcell Ozuna, who had been two for 35, emerged from that downward cycle by lining a three-run homer to cap the third-inning rally and walked to start another two-run salvo in the sixth as the Cardinals won their 80th game.
They have 20 games remaining to get to the 90-victory plateau, which well could be enough to capture the title in a National League Central Division they led by 2 ½ games entering Saturday’s fray.
Wainwright, 11-9, won for the fourth time in his past five decisions as he lasted seven innings. Over his last two games, he has given up just one run over 14 innings and has walked only one batter.
CARDS ADD ON THIS TIME
The Cardinals had a 4-1 lead entering the sixth inning Saturday night, summoning memories of the night before when they led 4-1 entering the home seventh but wound up losing by five runs.
They appeared intent on not falling into that same trap again by tallying two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh Saturday to stretch their lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates to 8-1.
Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader both singled in runs in the sixth as the Pirates helped by walking Marcell Ozuna, committing a passed ball and right fielder Jose Osuna dropping Paul DeJong’s long fly into the corner.
DeJong then doubled off the center-field wall over the head of a leaping Starling Marte in the seventh to score both Kolten Wong and Ozuna, who, reading the ball well, nearly caught up with Wong as they streaked across home plate almost at the same instant.
OZUNA, TWO FOR 35, HITS THREE-RUN HR
The Cardinals failed to deliver a runner from second base in both the first and second innings Saturday night as Marcell Ozuna, two for his last 35, lined to left to end the first and Harrison Bader struck out to finish the second.
But Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright took a hands-on approach in the third when he doubled to open the inning. And Ozuna didn’t miss when he got another chance as he lined his 26th homer, a three-run shot to right center, to cap a four-run inning against Pittsburgh lefthander Steve Brault.
Wainwright scored on Dexter Fowler’s single to center and then Kolten Wong bunted past Brault and beat the throw from first baseman Josh Bell to second baseman Adam Frazier.
Paul Goldschmidt popped up but Brault, who already had hit a batter, walked a batter and thrown two wild pitches, committed a balk to move the runners to second and third.
With a base open, the Pirates chose not to walk Ozuna intentionally even though Paul DeJong is a .218 hitter with men in scoring position. It cost them three runs.
Pittsburgh recaptured one of those runs in the home third when Starling Marte, who had tripled and been left on in the first, singled with two out to score Kevin Newman, who had singled and stolen second base.
Wainwright held the Pirates to just one run over five innings, despite allowing six hits.
Right fielder Fowler threw out Bryan Reynolds at second base in the first inning as Reynolds tried to make a double out of a single. The original call was safe but the Cardinals challenged successfully.
Wong dashed behind the mound to claim Elias Diaz’s roller and throw out the Pirates’ catcher for the third out of the fourth. And shortstop DeJong started a nifty double play, with the help of Wong, in the fifth.
WAINO CAN BE SCORED ON AT PNC
Adam Wainwright has a 7-4 record at PNC Park as a Cardinals pitcher but it hasn't been easy, as his whopping 5.77 earned run average here would attest.
Wainwright is 2-0 against the Pittsburgh Pirates this year, including a 14-8 win at PNC on July 24 as he makes his fifth and final start against the Pirates this season Saturday night.
The Cardinals' regular lineup will be behind him, meaning Tommy Edman, who had two homers on Friday, at third base, and Harrison Bader in center field with Dexter Fowler in right.
Marcell Ozuna, mired in a two-for-34 funk, is in left.
1. Dexter Fowler rf
2. Kolten Wong 2b
3. Paul Goldschmidt 1b
4. Marcell Ozuna lf
5. Paul DeJong ss
6. Yadier Molina c
7. Tommy Edman 3b
8. Harrison Bader cf
9. Adam Wainwright p
1. Kevin Newman ss
2. Bryan Reynolds lf
3. Starling Marte cf
4. Josh Bell 1b
5. Colin Moran 3b
6. Jose Osuna rf
7. Adam Frazier 2b
8. Elias Diaz c
9. Steven Brault p