PITTSBURGH Paul Goldschmidt homered for the second straight night, José Martínez added his 10th home run this season and Dakota Hudson rebounded from a shaky start to lead the St. Louis Cardinals past the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Goldschmidt, who hit a go-ahead grand slam in the 10th inning on Monday, delivered a two-run drive to the left-field seats in the third inning off Chris Archer (3-7). Martínez put St. Louis in front with a solo shot leading off the fifth, and Hudson and two relievers shut down the Pirates after spotting Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead.
Hudson (10-4) surrendered a Starling Marte homer three batters into the bottom of the first, then settled down. The 24-year-old rookie didn't allow a run the rest of the way, working 6 1/3 innings, giving up six hits and three walks to improve to 8-1 in his last 12 starts. Giovanny Gallegos and Andrew Miller retired the last eight Pittsburgh batters, with Miller throwing a perfect ninth for his third save.
St. Louis moved to 9-2 since the All-Star break to close ground on the first-place Chicago Cubs in the quickly widening NL Central. The Cardinals and Pirates were separated by a half-game at the break. The gap has expanded considerably over the last two weeks.
Pittsburgh fell to 2-9 since over its last 11 games, with four of the losses to St. Louis.
Archer couldn't take advantage of Marte's 17th home run and has now given up 24 home runs in 96 2/3 innings. Acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay last summer that sent future All-Star outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow to the Rays, is 6-10 with a 5.01 ERA with the Pirates.
Hudson has been the most consistent member of the Cardinals' rotation and has lost just once since May 7. It looked like he was in trouble early, but he worked crisply after laboring through the first.
Goldschmidt's drive inside the foul pole in left with one on in the third gave him six home runs this month and 20 for the fifth straight season and seventh time in his nine-year big league career. Martínez, who preserved a 6-5, 10-inning win Monday by throwing out Kevin Newman at home, put the Cardinals in front an inning later. Hudson didn't let the rally go to waste.
Pittsburgh's best chance came in the fifth when a single and two walks loaded the base with no outs. Pitching coach Mike Maddux came out to talk to Hudson, and Hudson responded by striking out All-Star Josh Bell on three pitches and getting Colin Moran to hit into an inning-ending double play.
KELA EXPECTED BACK
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle expects the team to activate reliever Keone Kela when he returns from a two-game suspension on Wednesday. The Pirates suspended Kela, who recently completed a stint on the 60-day IL, on Monday for an unspecified violation of his contract.
Cardinals: Activated right-handed reliever Mike Mayers (strained right side) from the 60-day IL and designated reliever Chasen Shreve, credited with Monday's win, for assignment. ... 3B Matt Carpenter (bruised right foot) was 0 for 2 with a walk for Triple-A Memphis and is scheduled to return to the Cardinals on Friday when he's eligible to come off the IL.
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco (left shoulder inflammation) met with orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Altchek in New York to have the shoulder re-evaluated. The team shut down Polanco in the middle of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis after Polanco, on the IL since June 22, complained of lingering soreness.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (6-7, 4.50 ERA) is 13- against the Pirates, the second-most victories against Pittsburgh among active pitchers.
Pirates: Jordan Lyles (5-6, 4.91) is winless since May 23 heading into his 17th start of the season. Lyles is coming off his best performance since mid-May, allowing one run on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings against Philadelphia last Friday.