ST. LOUIS _ Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer and tied a career high with five RBIs, Michael Wacha pitched eight strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0 on Sunday.
St. Louis, which has won three in a row and seven of eight, moved 2 1/2 games behind Chicago in the NL Central. The Cardinals are also 2 1/2 behind Colorado for the second NL wild card.
Randal Grichuk added a solo homer for St. Louis, which moved to a season-high seven games over .500.
Pittsburgh dropped its fifth in a row and slumped to 10 games under .500 for the first time since the end the of 2011 season.
Molina pushed the lead to 4-0 with his drive off Ivan Nova (11-13) in the fourth inning. He had an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Wacha (12-7) allowed five hits while striking out seven and did not walk a better in getting his third win in three starts.
By STEVE OVERBEY