Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Albert Pujols hit two home runs as St. Louis took a 9-2 win over Pittsburgh to avoid a three-game sweep at PNC Park.
Pujols finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored while Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a 2-for-3 effort. Holliday drove in one, walked once and scored twice for the Cardinals, who had dropped the first two games of the set and four of five overall.
"Obviously we had a good start to the game," said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa. "Albert got things started, he hit a couple of tough pitches there for home runs. We got support from all over, it was a good game."
Jeff Suppan (2-7) went five innings to get the win, as he gave up just one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts to help St. Louis keep its fledgling playoff hopes alive. The Cardinals moved within 7 1/2 games of idle Cincinnati for first place in the NL Central with 10 games to play.
Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez each drove in a run for the Pirates, who had a season-high five-game winning streak stopped. Brian Burres (3-4) was tagged for four runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings as the Pirates lost their 99th game of the season.
"He didn't have much out there today," said Pittsburgh manager John Russell about Burres. "The ball was coming out with the velocity that he usually had. He couldn't get the ball where he wanted to. He just didn't have it today."
The Cardinals took the lead in the third inning. With one out and one on, Pujols hit a shot that went just over the wall in left for his 40th homer of the season. Consecutive RBI doubles by Nick Stavinoha and Daniel Descalso later in the inning staked the team to a 4-0 lead.
St. Louis put two more on the board in the fourth, as Holliday singled home Joe Mather and a wild pitch fromChan Ho Park plated Pujols for a 6-0 lead.
Pittsburgh got one run in the home fourth, when Alvarez's RBI double plated Neil Walker, but St. Louis got it back in the fifth on Skip Schumaker's run-scoring single.
Pujols hit his second home run of the game in the sixth, and an RBI single from Descalso later in the frame gave St. Louis a 9-1 lead.
A sacrifice fly from McCutchen in the seventh made it a 9-2 contest.
Pujols has eclipsed the 40-home run mark in six of his 10 seasons. His career high is 49 (2006)...St. Louis plays its final road series of the season in Chicago, a three-game set starting Friday...Suppan improved to 16-3 lifetime against Pittsburgh...Pittsburgh hosts Houston for three games starting on Friday to conclude its 2010 home schedule...The Cardinals have taken seven of the 12 games with Pittsburgh this season...Holliday reached the 100-RBI plateau for the third time in his career and first since 2007.