Freese, Holliday lead Cards past Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese (23) celebrates with teammates Matt Holliday (7) and Albert Pujols (5), as Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto regroups, after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 29, 2011 in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese (23) celebrates with teammates Matt Holliday (7) and Albert Pujols (5), as Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto regroups, after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 29, 2011 in St. Louis. Photo by The Associated Press.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — David Freese had a go-ahead two-run single in the fifth and Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to an 8-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.

The Cardinals ended a three-game losing streak and moved within 9 1/2 games of idle Milwaukee in the NL Central. Pittsburgh lost for the sixth time in nine games.

Freese blooped a bases-loaded hit down the right-field line with one out to put St. Louis in front to stay, 5-4. Allen Craig began the inning with a single. Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton (9-7) then walked Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman.

Holliday hit a three-run homer in the eighth off reliever Tony Watson. It was Holliday’s 19th home run of the season.

St. Louis starter Edwin Jackson (10-9) allowed one earned run and struck out two. He walked three in his sixth start for the Cardinals. Jackson, acquired in a trade from Toronto on July 27, reached 10 wins for the fourth straight season.

St. Louis relievers Marc Rzepczynski, Jason Motte and Fernando Salas combined for three scoreless innings. Motte struck out Ronny Cedeno and got Ryan Doumit to fly out with a runner on third and one out to end the eighth.

The Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Cedeno and Michael McKenry.

St. Louis jumped to a 3-0 lead with two runs in the first and one in the second. Pujols and Berkman had RBI singles in the first. Skip Schumaker drove in Rafael Furcal with a two-out single in the second.

Pittsburgh scored three unearned runs in the third to tie the game. Garrett Jones’ two-run bases-loaded single was the big blow. An error by Freese at third opened the gates for the two-out rally.

Morton gave up nine hits and five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. Morton was 1-0 with an 0.95 ERA in his previous four starts.

Notes: Pittsburgh RF Jose Tabata had a 10-game hitting streak snapped Thursday. .... On July 24, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Milwaukee were tied for first in the NL Central. ... The Pirates play nine of their next 10 games on the road. ... Pittsburgh must go 21-11 the rest of the way to finish .500 or better for the first time in 19 years. ... Furcal batted eighth for the first time this season Thursday. .... Cardinals INF Ryan Theriot, mired in an 0-for-10 slump, had a sacrifice bunt in the eighth.

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