PITTSBURGH- Pinch-hitter Ike Davis launched a tiebreaking, three-run homer off Seth Maness in the eighth inning Tuesday night, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2.
The Pirates won after reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen left in the fifth inning because of discomfort in his left ribs. Recently on the disabled list because of a rib problem, the center fielder ran into the wall earlier in the game.
Davis sent a 2-2 pitch from Maness (5-3) deep over the fence in right-center for his ninth home run of the season and his third as a pinch-hitter.
AP Photo/Pittsburgh starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against St. Louis during the first inning Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Tony Watson (9-1) couldn't protect an early lead after six-plus dominant innings by starter Gerrit Cole, but picked up the win. Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 23rd save.
Josh Harrison homered for the Pirates.
Jon Jay and Randal Grichuk picked up RBIs for the Cardinals. Lance Lynn gave up two runs over six innings in a bid to win his fourth straight start.
Pittsburgh, trying desperately to stay in the hunt for a wild-card slot, appeared in danger of a second straight disheartening defeat after a brilliant effort by Cole.
The 23-year-old overwhelmed the Cardinals for long stretches in his second start since returning from the disabled list with right lat soreness. St. Louis didn't get a hit until a two-out double just inside the first base bag by Kolten Wong in the sixth. Cole responded by fanning Matt Holliday for his ninth strikeout of the game.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided to send Cole back out for the seventh with a 2-0 lead even though he had thrown 102 pitches. Trouble soon followed.
Matt Adams led off with a double and Jhonny Peralta followed with a single. Watson, an All-Star who has slipped a bit over the second half of the season, came on but couldn't quell the rally.
Adams scored on a sacrifice fly by Jay, and Grichuk - called up earlier in the day after outfielder Shane Robinson was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury - slapped a single up the middle to tie the game. Watson recovered to get out of the jam and retired the side in the eighth.
Gaby Sanchez singled with one out in the Pittsburgh eighth and Starling Marte followed with his second hit of the night.
The Cardinals decided to stick with Maness after a brief conference. It didn't work.
Davis, whose at-bats have dwindled with the team experimenting with Pedro Alvarez at first, hit a towering shot to boost a team that has fallen off the pace in the crowded NL playoff chase over the last three weeks.
McCutchen aggravated the rib injury that sent him to the disabled list earlier this month. He slammed into the wall to take away a hit from Matt Carpenter in the third.
McCutchen remained in the game for two more plate appearances but grimaced in obvious pain after a flyout in the fifth.
Alvarez exited in the seventh inning with left foot discomfort. Making his sixth start at first base following serious throwing issues while playing at third base, Alvarez went 0 for 3 and handled every defensive chance cleanly before giving way to Gaby Sanchez. Alvarez will be re-evaluated today.
Jeff Locke (5-3, 3.69 ERA) is 3-1 with a 3.78 ERA in eight starts at PNC Park this season. The left-hander allowed two runs in six innings in an 8-3 victory over Milwaukee last Friday.
Cubs 3, Reds 0
CINCINNATI (AP) - Travis Wood pitched six innings of two-hit ball against his former team for his first win in two months, leading the Cubs to victory over Johnny Cueto and the Reds.
Arismendy Alcantara hit a two-run shot and Anthony Rizzo connected for his 30th homer for the Cubs, who have won four in a row for the first time since June 30-July 4.
Cincinnati was shut out for the 12th time this season. Cueto (15-8) struck out eight in 6 1-3 innings in his second straight loss after winning seven consecutive decisions.
Mets 3, Braves 2.
NEW YORK (AP) - Juan Lagares hit a two-run homer and ran down one ball after another in center field, sending Dillon Gee and the Mets to a victory over the Braves.
Gee stopped the longest losing streak of his career at five games, outpitching Alex Wood in the opener of a three-game series. Lagares, rated one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, scurried from gap to gap and finished with seven putouts.
One of them was spectacular - he robbed Wood of a base hit with a diving, tumbling grab in shallow center to end the third inning.
Phillies 4, Nationals 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Freddy Galvis and Darin Ruf homered and Carlos Ruiz drove in go-ahead run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly to lead the Phillies to a victory over the Nationals.
Ken Giles (3-1) struck out the side in a scoreless eighth to help the Phillies to their fifth win in six games.
Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the Nationals, who lost consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 4-5.
Cole Hamels took a lead into the eighth before giving up a leadoff homer to Cabrera.
The left-hander was lifted for Giles after that batter, finishing with three runs allowed on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
Gio Gonzalez (6-10) gave up three runs on six hits in six innings to extend his winless streak to nine starts.