Lance Lynn started and allowed three runs in 4.1 innings for the Cards, but strong bullpen work got St. Louis the win. Four pitchers combined for 4.2 scoreless innings in relief of Lynn, with Barret Browning earning the win. Jason Motte picked up his 28th save of 2012 despite allowing a run in the ninth inning.
Matt Carpenter opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single, but the Pirates tied the game in the third. Shane Robinson's two-run double in the fourth was also answered with two Pittsburgh runs in the fifth. But Yadier Molina's two-run ground-rule double in the fifth inning gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
The win shaved the Pirates' lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cardinals to just one game in the race for the National League's second wild card berth. The Dodgers can cut that lead to a half-game with a victory later on Saturday.
The rubber match of the three-game series in St. Louis will be at 1:15 p.m. Central on Sunday. Jaime Garcia will take the mound for the Cardinals, while Jeff Karstens will pitch for the Pirates.