Steven Brault pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game, Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped an eight-game skid with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.
St. Louis dropped to third place in the NL Central, 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs and one back of the Cincinnati Reds. The top two finishers in each division advance to the expanded playoffs this year, along with two wild-card teams.
Brault retired his final 16 batters. He struck out eight, walked two and threw 110 pitches.
Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson left after two innings because of right elbow tightness. Hudson, who allowed one hit and walked two, has a 2.77 ERA in eight starts.
X-rays were negative, but Hudson will undergo imaging tests Friday.
Trevor Williams (1-7, 6.35 ERA) and Chad Kuhl (1-2, 5.50 ERA) are the scheduled starters. Williams is tied for the major league lead in losses with Arizona's Luke Weaver.