ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Adams had a two-run home run and the Cardinals broke open a tight game with four in the eighth to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals won their fifth consecutive game to maintain a one-game lead over Pittsburgh and a three-game advantage on Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Pirates finished a three-game sweep at Texas and the Reds knocked off the Chicago Cubs earlier in the day.
Milwaukee has lost three of five.
Brandon Kintzler (3-2) gave up three runs on two hits and a walk while only getting two outs. He surrendered a game-tying hit in the seventh before loading the bases with one out in the eighth.
Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly off Michael Gonzalez scored Matt Carpenter to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. An error by catcher Jonathan Lucroy allowed Jon Jay to score and Adams followed with his 12th homer of the season.
Trevor Rosenthal (2-3) had a hitless eighth inning for the win.
The Cardinals broke through on an RBI hit from David Descalso. Matt Holliday led off with a single, the second hit against starter Marco Estrada, and moved to second on a two-out walk to David Freese.
Descalso sent Kintzler's second pitch down the left field line to score Holliday and tie the game at 1-1.
Estrada took a no-hitter into the sixth, losing it with two outs. Carpenter, who struck out in his first two at-bats, hit a liner that bounced just in front of the pitcher, nicked his leg and bounded to third baseman Aramis Ramirez. His throw pulled Juan Francisco off first base in what otherwise would have been a close play.
Estrada gave up two hits in 6?, struck out six and walked two. He's made six starts since returning in early August from the disabled list with a strained hamstring and has gone 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in that span.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn had one of his best outings in more than a month. He went six innings and struck out 10, the third time this season he's reached double digits and the sixth time in 61 starts. He also walked two, including Scooter Gennett in the second that led to the Brewers' run.
Carlos Gomez singled with one out and moved to second on Gennett's walk. On a successful double steal, Gomez came home when Tony Cruz's attempt to get Gennett bounced into centerfield.
Lynn lost his previous five starts leading into Wednesday's game as his ERA rose to 4.37 from 3.78. He last win came Aug. 4, when he gave up two runs in eight innings in a 15-2 victory at Cincinnati.
NOTES: St. Louis C Yadier Molina missed the game for "family matters," according to manager Mike Matheny. The Cardinals did not elaborate on the reason or say when the All-Star catcher would return to the team. ... St. Louis distributed 7,906 complimentary tickets to first responders and military personnel in honor of Sept. 11. ... Tyler Thornburg (1-1, 2.08) is scheduled to start for Milwaukee in the finale of the three-game set Thursday and will face Joe Kelly (8-3, 2.74). Kelly has won his past five starts. ... Hockey great Wayne Gretzky watched the game from the front row.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Holliday's two-run home run in the sixth inning stunned Wily Peralta with the St. Louis Cardinals' first hit and rookie Shelby Miller blanked the Milwaukee Brewers into the seventh inning of a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
Norichika Aoki of the Brewers struck out three times for the first time in the majors, the last against rookie lefty Kevin Siegrist with a runner on second to end the seventh. Aoki entered the game as the toughest batter to fan in the majors this year, averaging one per 17.2 at-bats.
Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams added RBIs in the seventh and eighth for the NL Central leaders, who are 4-0 to begin a nine-game homestand. After a day off, the Cardinals built on momentum from a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh.
The 22-year-old Miller (13-9) emphasized more off-speed deliveries to keep the pitch count down and allowed five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. He's 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee, the other two wins coming on the road.
Peralta (9-15) was significantly improved over his first two starts against the Cardinals, both in May, in which he allowed 12 runs and 22 hits in 9 1-3 innings. In 6 2-3 innings he was charged with three runs and three hits with seven strikeouts.
The Brewers avoided getting shut out for a third time by St. Louis on pinch-hitter Logan Schafer's two-run homer off Edward Mujica in the ninth.
Peralta struck out five of the first seven hitters and the Cardinals had two baserunners the first five innings: a walk by Holliday in the fourth and first baseman Jonathan Lucroy's error on a dropped throw in the third. Aoki kept the no-hitter going with a sliding catch down the right field line that robbed David Freese of a hit opening the fifth.
Holliday fouled balls off his left foot or ankle three times the first two at-bats, near where he's wearing a guard from previous occurrences. Carpenter walked to open the sixth and Holliday saw just one pitch his third time against Peralta, hammering a fastball an estimated 424 feet to left-center for his 19th homer.
Siegrist, a 41st-round draft pick, has worked 18 consecutive scoreless innings and has held left-handed hitters to just four hits in 53 at-bats.
Rookie Scooter Gennett of Milwaukee had two hits and is batting .394
Brett Hull chucked a side-armed ceremonial first pitch, a day after the hockey Hall of Famer rejoined the St. Louis Blues as an executive vice president.
NOTES: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said there was "no timetable or any better guesstimate" on when Allen Craig might return from a sprained left foot. Craig is batting .396 against Milwaukee with two homers and 10 RBIs. ... Brewers manager Ron Roenicke picked the Cardinals to prevail in the Central because they're "probably the most well-rounded team," and also thought all three teams would be contenders for years to come. "And that's a tough thing for us," he said. "You don't have all these veterans who are going to be free agents and they're going to be losing all these guys." ...The Brewers played the first of 20 straight days, the maximum allowed in the collective bargaining agreement, to end the season. They'll use a six-man rotation the rest of the year, getting an extended look at youngsters Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg, the PCL pitcher of the year at Triple-A Nashville, and give extra days off to the rest of the rotation.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The United States clinched its seventh straight World Cup appearance, beating Mexico 2-0 Tuesday night on second-half goals by Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan before a raucous red-white-and-blue-clad crowd that stood and chanted from start to finish.
After withstanding Mexican pressure for the first 20 minutes, the U.S. settled in the match and got the breakthrough in the 49th minute when Johnson outjumped defender Diego Reyes to meet Donovan's corner kick 8 yards out and head the ball past frozen goalkeeper Jesus Corona.
With Mexican shifting to an offense-minded 3-4-3 formation, the U.S. scored in the 78th following a throw in when Mix Diskerud threaded the ball across the middle. Clint Dempsey got the slightest of touches as he slid into the goalmouth, and Donovan poked the ball in from 2 yards.
The U.S. (5-2-1) moved into first place in the North and Central American and Caribbean finals with 16 points, one ahead of Costa Rica (4-1-3), which was held to a 1-1 tie at last-place Jamaica and also clinched.
"Obviously this is a huge, huge evening for all of us," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "It's a huge milestone whenever you make it to a World Cup."
The top three teams qualify, and the U.S. had to wait an hour after the final whistle to learn it was assured of a spot in the 32-nation field for Brazil next June. But when Honduras (3-3-2) held on for a 2-2 tie against Panama (1-2-5) in Tegucigalpa, the Americans had grabbed a berth with two games to spare.
"We're continuing the growth of the game here in the sport, we're improving, getting better and we've got to make sure we do well in Brazil to keep it going," Dempsey said.
Mexico (1-2-5) dropped into fifth on goal difference and seems likely at best headed to a playoff against Oceania champion New Zealand.
U.S. players, many carrying large American flags on sticks, celebrated their win with a lap around the field, saluting the crowd the whole way. Then they went to the locker room to wait out the Honduras game. About 1,000 fans stuck around to watch on the videoboard, chanting for Honduras.
Following wins over Mexico in qualifiers by identical 2-0 scores at Columbus Crew Stadium in 2001, 2005 and 2009, the U.S. Soccer Federation picked the same venue for this year's match. The capacity crowd of 24,584 taunted the Mexicans with chants of "Dos a cero!" and "You're not going to Brazil!"
Fans were so loud during "The Star-Spangled Banner" that anthem singer Kayleigh Schofield was forced to alter her tempo to match that of the crowd.
Johnson nearly scored off Donovan's cross in the third minute of the second half, but the pass was just ahead of him.
A minute later, the U.S. took just its second corner kick of the match. Jermaine Jones and Johnson both broke in from behind the penalty spot, and Mexico was slow to react as Johnson scored in 12th goal in 21 qualifying appearances. He was mobbed by teammates near the U.S. bench as fans set off a smoke bomb.
Donovan's goal, increasing his national team record to 57, set off a nonstop singalong for the closing minutes of the match.
"I'm proud of this team. I'm proud to be a part of it," Donovan said. "These guys put in a lot of hard work over the last two years and to have an opportunity in front of a crowd like this to qualify is pretty special."
Dempsey missed a penalty kick in second-half injury time, just before the final whistle.
Dealing with an injury to midfielder Michael Bradley and yellow-card suspensions of defender Matt Besler, midfielder Geoff Cameron and forward Jozy Altidore, U.S. Klinsmann had to make several changes from Friday's 3-1 loss at Costa Rica.
Fabian Johnson shifted from midfield to the back line, and Clarence Goodson was among four new starters, joined by midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya, and forward Eddie Johnson. Fabian Johnson strained his left hamstring and was replaced by Michael Parkhurst for the start of the second half.
Mexico dominated the first 20 minutes of the opening half and the last five, forcing goalkeeper Tim Howard to make several sprawling saves.
The first came seven minutes in, when American left back DaMarcus Beasley scuffed a clearance and nearly put the ball in his own goal.
Howard made a diving parry on Christian Gimenez in the 19th, and then two minutes later pushed Gimenez's free kick over the crossbar. Howard was forced into another diving save on Giovani Dos Santos in the 44th, and then dived to knock a header over the line in injury time after Bedoya pulled down Dos Santos with a sliding tackle, earning a yellow card.
The first good U.S. chance was when Donovan's free kick was knocked down Omar Gonzalez in the 14th, and Jermaine Jones volleyed over the crossbar.
Eddie Johnson's header off Donovan's corner kick was saved by Corona in the 32nd.
Blues legend, Brett Hull, is back with the team.
The Blues made the announcement at a 6:16 p.m. news conference Monday. The time was selected in honor of Hull’s retired #16.
Hull was introduced to a crowd of around 500 fans as Executive Vice-President of operations. His new job is to help get the team on firm financial footing, something the organization has struggle with for its 46 year history.
Hull won two Stanley Cups after leaving St. Louis, but he told the crowd that he continued to daydream about "how wonderful it would be to be going down Broadway in a Stanley Cup parade."
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Michael Wacha is glad he's graduated to a pennant race.
After finishing his college career at Texas A&M just over a year ago, the rookie pitched seven shutout innings and drove in two runs as the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-2 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
The Cardinals outscored Pittsburgh 26-10 overall in taking the NL Central lead.
"It helped me going to A&M and playing in those big-time games and I guess gets me prepared for it," Wacha said. "So I just try not to think too much. I go out there and try to go out there and just trust myself. It ended up working out pretty well."
The Pirates arrived at Busch Stadium this weekend with a 1 1/2-game division lead and a chance to cement their first winning season since 1992. They left trailing the Cardinals by 1 1/2 games and still stuck on 81 victories.
This was the last time this season Pittsburgh and St. Louis were scheduled to play.
Wacha (3-0) allowed two hits and walked two, both of which were erased on double plays. He struck out two and never had more than one runner on at a time.
Wacha hasn't allowed a run in 19 2-3 consecutive innings.
"A young pitcher coming in and just staying within himself, really establishing the strike zone early," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It seemed like he made some really good pitches as he got deeper into the game. He's just making pitches all day. It's impressive."
Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton (7-4) left with discomfort in his left foot in the second inning. He allowed five runs on six hits and two walks in 1 2-3 innings.
Morton left for Pittsburgh before the game was over and won't join the team in Texas where it starts a three-game series Monday.
Manager Clint Hurdle said he didn't know the extent of Morton's injury. Hurdle said Morton was hurt when he was backing up a base.
"We weren't sharp in any particular area of the game all weekend," Hurdle said. "They were much sharper than us across the board. It's very difficult to win a game when you are not functioning."
Morton hadn't surrendered more than two runs since the Cardinals tagged him for five in a 13-0 victory on Aug. 1 in Pittsburgh. He went on to win his next three decisions over five starts, including a no-decision after giving up two runs in seven innings on Aug. 13 at St. Louis.
Wacha got his second career hit with a single up the middle on the first pitch he saw from Vin Mazzaro in a four-run fifth that scored David Freese and Matt Adams. St. Louis used 10 batters in the 28-minute inning - exactly how long Wacha needed to get through six innings of pitching.
"That was a lot of fun," Wacha said of his hit. "I told myself that I was going to hop on the first heater. I was able to sneak it by the shortstop up the middle. I was pretty fired up about that."
Wacha also helped set up a three-run second with a sacrifice bunt that pushed Pete Kozma to third in front of consecutive doubles from Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay.
Jay scored on Morton's final offering, a wild pitch that bounced just in front of the left-handed batter's box.
The Cardinals jumped in front with two runs in the first. Carpenter and Jay singled to start the inning and Matt Holliday walked to load the bases. Carlos Beltran hit a sacrifice fly and Yadier Molina had an RBI grounder.
"We all knew what was at stake," Carpenter said. "This is the last time we get to play these guys, so it was a big series. I couldn't be happier with the way it played out. Not just the fact that we won all three, but the fashion that we won all three. Really dominated, I feel like, every aspect of the game."
Pittsburgh scored twice in the ninth off reliever Sam Freeman. Garrett Jones hit an RBI double and Gaby Sanchez had a sacrifice fly.
Jones said Wacha had the Pirates guessing all day.
"He has deception," he said. "That downward angle can be tricky. He was able to hit his spots and he has a good arm."
NOTES: Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen singled in the seventh to extend his hit streak to seven games. ... Carpenter's single in the first was his 99th hit at home this season, a single-season record for the current Busch Stadium. ... Pittsburgh 3B Pedro Alvarez committed his major league-leading 27th error in the seventh, allowing pinch-hitter Brock Peterson to reach. ... The Cardinals are off Monday, but many will participate in Matheny's charity golf tournament. His Catch 22 Foundation supports charities that work with children with disabilities.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Adam Wainwright bounced back from back-to-back sub-par outings with seven shutout innings and David Freese homered to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.
The victory moved the Cardinals into first place, a half-game ahead of the Pirates in the NL Central with their third win in four games. Pittsburgh has lost four of six including the first two of the three-game set. The Pirates remain stuck on 81 wins, one shy of assuring them a winning record for the first time since they went 96-66 in 1992.
Wainwright (16-9) had given up 15 earned runs over his previous two starts, both against Cincinnati. He allowed a career-high nine runs in two innings of a 10-0 loss Aug. 28. But he regained his form against the Pirates allowing just two hits. He struck out eight and walked two.
Wainwright, who ended his performance with four successive strikeouts, is tied with Jordan Zimmermann of Washington and Jorge De La Rosa of Colorado for the most wins in the NL.
Freese drove in two runs for the Cardinals, who moved into sole possession of first place for the first time since Aug. 29. Matt Holliday, Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso also added RBIs.
Freese homered off reliever Jeanmar Gomez in the sixth to push the lead to 4-0.
Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke (9-5) allowed three runs on three hits over five innings. He was making his first start since Aug. 27. Locke was sent down to Double-A Altoona to clear his mind, but he did not make an appearance.
Yadier Molina started a two-run outburst in the fourth inning with a double that followed a leadoff walk to Carlos Beltran. Freese then brought in Beltran with a sacrifice fly to left. Kozma added an infield single to bring in Molina.
Notes: RHP Michael Wacha (2-0, 3.20) will face Charlie Morton (7-3, 3.00) in the final game of the three-game series on Sunday. ... Pittsburgh has hit an NL-leading 79 home runs on the road. ... The Pirates have out-homered St. Louis 19-5 in the 18 games between the teams this season. ... St. Louis had nine successive hits in a seven-run seventh inning during Friday's 12-8 win. The nine in a row is the most by any team in the majors this season.
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Todd Frazier hit two homers, including the first of Cincinnati's three off Lance Lynn, and the Reds recovered from a 16-inning loss by overpowering the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 on Thursday night, taking three of four in their final series of the season.
Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo also hit solo homers off Lynn (13-10), who lasted five innings and gave up three homers for only the second time in his career. Frazier also connected off Seth Maness for the third multihomer game of his career.
By winning their final series together, the Reds tightened the NL Central race and ended the Cardinals' dominance. St. Louis had won the last seven series between them. Cincinnati's lone loss was 5-4 in 16 innings on Wednesday night.
Left-hander Tony Cingrani (7-3) returned from a sore back and did a little bit of everything. He pitched into the sixth inning, gave up two runs, bunted for a hit, stole a base and scored.
David Freese homered for the Cardinals, who have lost six of eight. With first-place Pittsburgh idle, the Cardinals slipped to 1 1/2 games behind the Pirates while the Reds moved to 3 games out.
The Cardinals got some encouraging news before the game. Cleanup hitter Allen Craig has a sprained left foot, but nothing is broken.
Allen twisted the foot while rounding first base on Wednesday night. Initially, the Cardinals feared it was broken - X-rays were inconclusive. He flew to St. Louis for an MRI and more X-rays that ruled out a fracture. He's expected back at some point during the season.
Cingrani had to leave his start on Aug. 20 because of a strained lower back. He returned on Thursday and showed there was nothing wrong.
Cingrani beat out a bunt for a single in the second inning. He stole second base off catcher Tony Cruz - the first steal by a Reds pitcher since Bronson Arroyo in 2008 - and came around on a wild pitch and Brandon Phillips' infield single.
Phillips was taken out hard at second base while completing a double play in the sixth. He left an inning later as a precaution with a sore left thigh.
Lynn had already beaten the Reds three times this season, but is going through a rough time lately. The right-hander has lost his last four starts, giving up 19 runs in 23 innings.
The only other time in his career that he allowed three homers in a game was June 14, 2012, at Kansas City.
The four homers overall equaled the most given up by the Cardinals this season. Pittsburgh hit four on April 28.
Notes: Cruz was in the lineup after recovering from a stress fracture in his left forearm that landed him on the DL on Aug. 15. ... Reds manager Dusty Baker said C Devin Mesoraco has a sore hamstring, limiting his availability. That's why No. 3 catcher Corky Miller got in before Mesoraco during the 16-inning loss. ... Reds SS Zack Cozart extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... The Cardinals headed home for their final series against Pittsburgh. Joe Kelly (7-3) starts on Friday against A.J. Burnett (7-9). The Reds remain home, opening a series against the Dodgers. Mike Leake (11-6) faces LHP Chris Capuano (4-7).
The Cardinals will be without their RBI leader for the next few games.
Allen Craig was diagnosed with a left foot sprain Thursday. Craig injured his foot while attempting to avoid the umpire near first base in Wednesday night's win. Craig will wear a walking boot as a precaution and be re-evaluated by doctors next week.