Cole wins MLB-best 13th as Pirates beat Cardinals 5-2

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PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Gerrit Cole pitched seven strong innings to become the major leagues’ first 13-game winner and Neil Walker had a two-run homer among his three hits as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 on Friday night.

Cole (13-3) allowed two runs both on Matt Carpenter’s third-inning home run _ and six hits while striking out three and walking two. He became just the second Pirates pitcher to win 13 games before the All-Star break, joining Dock Elis, who had 14 in 1971.

Walker’s home run, his seventh, extended the Pirates’ lead to 5-2 in the fourth inning.

Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for his National League-leading 29th save in 30 opportunities.

The Pirates (51-35) won for the sixth time in seven games and drew within 4 { games of the Cardinals (56-31) in the NL Central.