PITTSBURGH -- Matt Holliday and Kolten Wong struck three-run homers Friday night to power the Cardinals to an 8-5 win over the Pirates, St. Louis' 10th win in 11 games. Jhonny Peralta began the Cardinals' scoring with a solo homer, adding up to the first visitors' three-homer game at PNC Park since April 20, 2014, by Milwaukee.
Pittsburgh lefty Francisco Liriano gave up the blows to Peralta and Holliday and in 6 1/3 innings was charged with six runs (five earned). He struck out 10 batters.
"I hung a couple of pitches, and they didn't let me get away with any mistakes," Liriano said. "They're always ready for your mistakes. That's a tough lineup."
Michael Wacha ran his record to 5-0 by allowing three runs (two earned) in six innings, while fanning only one and not issuing a walk.
"I felt like I was able to keep them off balance, for the most part," Wacha said. "A couple of innings got away from me, but I was able to make my pitches for most of the night and just let my defense work behind me."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gone on Holliday: Matt Holliday mashed his second home run of the season an estimated 441 feet to break a third-inning tie and put the Cardinals ahead, 4-1. The blast assured Holliday of reaching base for the 29th consecutive game (dating back to 2014) and improved the left fielder to 12-for-21 with 16 RBIs when hitting with a runner in scoring position. The homer was Holliday's first off Liriano in 26 career at-bats.
McCutchen has his legs: If given a chance, the Pirates planned to run on St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. Turns out, they also ran into Molina. Andrew McCutchen tried to score from third as Pedro Alvarez was bouncing into a sixth-inning fielder's choice, and he was badly beaten by Peralta's throw. On his slide, McCutchen bumped Molina's mitt with his left shoulder and knocked the ball out. The run reduced the Cards' lead at the time to 4-3. McCutchen had earlier beaten out a grounder to short for an infield single.
Couple of misfires backfire on Bucs: Both Liriano and reliever Arquimedes Caminero found out the hard way that the Cardinals' lineup doesn't let you get away with mistakes. Each surrendered a three-run homer, the difference in the game. More >
Wacha wiggles through: With his 104th and final pitch of the night, Wacha got Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer to pop out to Molina in foul territory, stranding the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base. Pittsburgh had already scored once in the 21-pitch inning to pull within one. Wacha minimized damage all night by keeping the Pirates to 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
"We were just watching how it played out and what the previous at-bats looked like and liked how Michael was still throwing the ball, even though his count was still getting up there," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of sticking with Wacha to face Mercer. More >
"Definitely hitting in front of Holliday gives me an opportunity to see more fastballs, obviously. I'm just trying to hold the spot for Carp. That's what I'm doing." -- Wong, after a three-hit night batting in Matt Carpenter's second spot in the lineup
"I don't think frustration even enters into it. You go out and play, and if you meet the demands of the game, more often than not, you will come out on top. When you don't, you come out on the wrong side and have to keep working. Season's not going to stop." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, after his club's sixth loss in seven games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Holliday's home run in the third inning off Liriano was the first struck at PNC Park by a visiting player with more than one man on base since Aug. 19, 2014, when Justin Upton, then with Atlanta, hit a three-run homer … in the third inning … off Liriano. Only four innings later, Wong repeated the feat. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals:Carlos Martinez is slated to start for the Cardinals on Saturday, looking to rebound from his shortest start of the year (3 2/3 innings). His only previous start against the Pirates came last July, when he allowed four runs in six innings. The Cardinals will be without Carpenter (fatigue) again for the game.
Pirates:Vance Worley, who absolutely loves to pitch at PNC Park, gets to do it Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Cardinals. Worley is 7-2 at home with the Bucs, and he has allowed three earned runs (1.04 ERA) in his last four PNC Park starts (26 innings), going back to last season.