Their 6-4 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night was their fourth in a row, matching their season high achieved in April when three of those wins came at Pittsburgh.
One of the tip-offs on a team playing well is that it can score runs without a hit. The Cardinals had three sacrifice flies Tuesday, including back-to-back run-scoring flyballs in the seventh inning by David Eckstein and So Taguchi.
The Cardinals also capitalized on a Pirates misplay when catcher Ronnie Paulino couldn't catch Ryan Ludwick's pop foul in the sixth. Ludwick, given life, doubled home the lead run. Ludwick then robbed Paulino in the bottom of the inning with a diving catch.
"He's playing the game like it's the last game of his life," manager Tony La Russa said. "That enthusiasm is very good for us."
After throwing 13 consecutive scoreless innings in the last three wins, the Cardinals bullpen allowed two runs Tuesday, but left-hander Randy Flores was at maximum efficiency. Flores, who had allowed 16 of 27 inherited runners to score, entered the game with two on and one out in the seventh and ended the inning, inducing a double-play grounder from Nate McLouth.
The Cardinals are only three games under .500.
"Zero (under .500) was so far away. Now there's a light at the end of the tunnel," La Russa said.
CARDINALS 6, PIRATES 4: St. Louis beat Pittsburgh for the fourth consecutive time at PNC Park, and Adam Wainwright, who worked six innings, became the first Cardinal pitcher reach to 10 wins. Cardinals pitchers surrendered 12 hits, but 11 of them were singles.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Joel Pineiro, who had some successful seasons with Seattle as a starter, was acquired from Boston for a player to be named later. Pineiro, who had flopped as a reliever for the Red Sox this season, had been at Class AAA Pawtucket. He will move into the Cardinals rotation, probably on Saturday at Washington.
"Here, he'll definitely have a role," general manager Walt Jocketty said.
--Jocketty said he thought the club had a chance to reacquire longtime Cardinals RHP Matt Morris from San Francisco, but Morris went to Pittsburgh instead, with the Pirates agreeing to pick up all of the contract for Morris, who will make $9 million next year, too.
--LF Chris Duncan doubled in the seventh as a pinch hitter, giving him seven hits in 15 career pinch at-bats.
--The Cardinals, who have feasted on the National League Central Division in winning some of their recent championships, are 26-18 in the division this year and 24-35 out of it.
--RHP Jason Isringhausen's hitless ninth inning gave him 21 saves in 23 opportunities.
--RHP Adam Wainwright, Tuesday's winner despite allowing eight hits in the first five innings and throwing 101 pitches in six innings, said, "I struggled all night. My slider was absolutely terrible."