PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates got a stellar start from Jeff Locke Wednesday afternoon, who bested Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, for the series rubber match.
They also got another big swing of the bat from Ike Davis in the second inning that stood as the game winning hit.
The Pirates improved to 69-64 after back-to-back series wins against the Milwaukee Brewers and Cardinals with the playoff race heating up.
Locke gave up six hits, but just one run and two walks. He struck out three and went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Davis clobbered a home run in the second, a first-pitch cutter off Wainwright in his first at-bat of the day to make it 2-0 Pirates with Russell Martin on base.
Locke left a change-up elevated to Matt Holliday in the third, and he homered past the notch in left center to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Pirates loaded the bases in the bottom of the third with three straight singles, and Andrew McCutchen hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run. But Wainwright struck out Neil Walker and Martin to end the inning with his curveball.
Davis had a chance for another big hit in the fifth when Walker and Martin loaded the bases with two-out singles, but lined out to the second baseman.
He had Walker and Martin on again in the seventh with two outs but flew out to the left fielder.
Wainwright went six innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. He walked one, struck out five and gave up one home run.
Before the game, manager Clint Hurdle was asked his opinion about whether Wainwright's game is slipping.
"That's what a lot of people are telling me. A lot of the experts are telling me he's off his game. We're going to find out 1/8Wednesday3/8," Hurdle said before the game. "We always prepare for a guy pitching his 'A' game because we've seen a lot of 'A' games from him. We've also had a little bit of success against him. Not so much at Busch (Stadium). It's always fun to play this third game, a quick turnaround. What a great game this thing called baseball is.
"Just when you think you figured out the ending ... something flips on you and changes course."
(c)2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services