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Cardinals Lose To Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates First In Wild NL Central

The St. Louis Cardinals came back twice in their hard-luck loss against the Cincinnati Reds, but home-field advantage turned out to be the difference-maker when Brandon Phillips hit a walk-off home run against closer Fernando Salas in the bottom of the ninth inning. But the real shocker: With the Cardinals' loss and their own win, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now first in the National League Central. 

The good news for Cardinals fans, such as it is, is that Albert Pujols appears to be all the way back. After Chris Heisey robbed him of a home run in the first inning, Pujols hit a scorching 400-footer off of dinged-up Reds superprospect Aroldis Chapman to put the Cardinals on top in the eighth inning. It wasn't enough, but Pujols is now hitting .282/.357/.508 on the year and has seven hits—including two home runs and a double—in his last three games. 

The Pirates' win is the feel-good story of the season for disinterested observers, but it's good news for the Cardinals, too, who'd probably rather chase them than the Brewers, who lost to fall a half-game behind both clubs.