Adam Wainwright drove in three runs and survived five occasionally bumpy innings to pick up his first victory since mid-July as the Cardinals drummed the staggering Pittsburgh Pirates 12-6 on Monday.
Wainwright hit an RBI-double off Chad Kuhl (3-3) in the second and added a two-run single in the fourth as the Cardinals held on to the second wild card spot in the National League by sending the Pirates to their seventh straight loss.
Wainwright (10-8) allowed four runs and struck out five as his ERA rose to 4.61 while picking up his first victory since July 16. He hardly needed to be sharp as the Cardinals battered Pittsburgh's beleaguered pitching staff. Jedd Gyorko and Matt Adams homered for St. Louis to extend the team's streak of games with at least one home run to a club-record 24.
Andrew McCutchen and Adam Frazier hit home runs for the Pirates, who have been outscored 47-22 during their current slide. A week ago Pittsburgh was well within striking distance of the Cardinals for a playoff spot but have fallen 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis and dropped below .500 (67-68) for the first time since July 2.
St. Louis pounded out 14 hits - eight for extra bases - against five pitchers and wasted little time getting to Kuhl, who has been steady if not spectacular since joining the rotation full-time a month ago.
Jeff Locke came on relief of Kuhl in the third and the Cardinals quickly went to work. Kolten Wong's RBI single against him made it 4-2 and Gyorko opened the fourth with a long home run down the left-field line for his 26th of the year.
Wainwright's bloop to left later in the inning pushed St. Louis' lead to six runs and allowed Wainwright to leave after five innings in which he needed 93 pitches to get 15 outs.
Rookie Luke Weaver makes his fourth major league start on Tuesday. Weaver is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA and gave up three runs over six innings in his last start against Milwaukee.