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 (1-3) had never pitched more than seven innings in his previous 43 starts. The Cardinals got their only hits in the third. After Rangel Ravelo walked, Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman hit back-to-back singles, with Ravelo scoring on Edman’s hit.
Brault retired his final 16 batters. He struck out eight, walked two and threw 110 pitches.
The two teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Friday. Carlos Martinez (0-2, 10.32 ERA) and Daniel Ponce De Leon (0-3, 6.23 ERA) are scheduled to be the starters for the Redbirds and Trevor Williams (1-7, 6.35 ERA) and Chad Kuhl (1-2, 5.50 ERA) for the Buccos. Game time for the opener is 3:05 p.m.