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Pirates battle back, leapfrog Cardinals in game, standings

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates came back from a 5-1 deficit, beating the Cardinals, 7-5, bumping a half-game over St. Louis in the standings and extending their winning streak to seven games, having come from behind in six in a row.

David Freese and Aledmys Diaz exchanged early solo home runs before the Cardinals pecked away at Jeff Locke with six singles for a four-run fourth inning. With one out, Jedd Gyorko singled home Stephen Piscotty. After a Greg Garcia single, pitcher Jaime Garcia had a solid at-bat for a sacrifice fly. Kolten Wong, who had entered as an injury replacement for Matt Carpenter, laid down a nice bunt to Locke and slid into first like a doofus, but beat the throw upon review, allowing another run to score. Diaz then singled home another run.

Gavvy Cravath Sean Rodriguez blasted a solo homer to lead off the fifth, making it 5-2. The Pirates looked to be in business to close that gap even more when Erik Kratz doubled next, but after two groundouts, Freese struck out looking on a bad call.

Andrew McCutchen and Jung-Ho Kang started the sixth with walks, chasing Jaime Garcia, and singles by Josh Harrison and Rodriguez brought the Pirates within 5-4. Home-plate umpire Lance Barrett had to remind everyone he was boss and called out Matt Joyce on another bad pitch to end the inning, though.

Jonathan Broxton, who had frustratingly not been that bad against the Pirates since joining St. Louis, came on in the seventh and revived that narrative, giving up three runs for a 7-5 Buccos lead.

Freese walked and McCutchen singled, then Kang doubled to right-center to plate them both for a 6-5 lead. With two outs, Diaz bobbled a Harrison grounder, allowing Kang to score.

The Pirates' bullpen continued its becoming A Thing, as Jared Hughes, A.J. Schugel, Neftali Feliz, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon combined for five scoreless innings, allowing four hits in that span.

A little less than a month after being swept in ugly fashion at home by the Cardinals, the Pirates have taken three in St. Louis with a chance for the four-game sweep as a guy of some note takes the bump Thursday afternoon.