ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Trevor Williams pitched six strong innings, Starling Marte had an RBI single in the sixth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Wednesday night.
Williams (11-9) gave up three hits and struck out a career-high eight. He has allowed just four earned runs over his last eight starts and improved to 5-2 with 0.75 ERA during that stretch. He has a major-league best eight starts of at least five innings without allowing a run.
Marte lifted a bloop single to left field off Miles Mikolas (13-4) to bring in Jordy Mercer with the first run. Gregory Polanco followed with a run-scoring single to help Pittsburgh win for just the second time in eight games.
Edgar Santana and Keone Kela each pitched an inning and Felipe Vazquez got the last three outs to complete the five-hitter and get his 28th save in 32 chances.
Polanco, Corey Dickerson, and Adam Frazier had two hits each for the Pirates.
St. Louis, which dropped to 16-4 in its last 20, is now 4 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the NL Central.
The Cardinals also fell to 27-13 under manager Mike Shildt, who took over for Mike Matheny on July 15. Shildt was rewarded with a two-year contract on Tuesday.
Mikolas gave up two runs and eight hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked one.
The Pirates are 12-19 after winning 11 straight from July 11-24.
St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter left the game in the fourth inning with a stomach ailment.
FIRST INNING SUCCESS
St. Louis starting pitchers have not allowed a run in the first inning of their last 11 games. Mikolas struck out Dickerson with the bases loaded to keep the streak alive.
Pirates: INF Jordy Mercer was activated from the 10-day disabled list prior to the game. He went on the DL with a left calf strain on Aug. 16. … INF Sean Rodriguez has been designed for assignment. He hit .167 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 67 games this year.
Cardinals: INF Jedd Gyorko was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left groin strain suffered in Tuesday’s 5-2 win. OF Adolis Garcia was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Garcia had 22 home runs and 71 RBI in 112 games with the Redbirds.
Pirates RHP Joe Musgrove (5-7, 3.56) will face St. Louis RHP John Gant (5-5, 3.76) in the final game of the three-game set on Thursday. Musgrove is 2-2 with 2.92 ERA in six road starts.