ST. LOUIS —
Michael Wacha 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Pittsburgh scored twice in the ninth off reliever Sam Freeman. Garrett Jones hit an RBI double and Gaby Sanchez had a sacrifice fly.