Kang’s HR Ends Pirates’ 8-Game Skid; Bucs Beat Cards 4-3

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jung Ho Kang led off the eighth inning with a home run, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night to snap an eight-game losing streak.

Kang hit a drive deep into the bullpens in left-center off rookie Alex Reyes (1-1) for his 17th homer and third in two games. It helped snap the Pirates’ longest skid since dropping 10 straight in 2011.

The Cardinals are percentage points ahead of the New York Mets for the second NL wild card, and the Pirates drew within 4 ½ games of St. Louis.

Trevor Williams (1-0) allowed one unearned run in three innings for the win in his major league debut.

Reyes gave up one run in 3 2/3 innings and also singled off Williams in the seventh for his first major league hit.

Tony Watson worked a perfect ninth inning for his 11th save after blowing his previous two opportunities, including Tuesday night when he allowed three home runs in the ninth inning of a 9-7 loss.

The Cardinals ended a streak of 25 consecutive games with a home run, a club record.

Pirates starter Jameson Taillon pitched five innings. The rookie gave up two runs, six hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Mike Leake went 4 1/3 innings in his first start for the Cardinals since Aug. 21 after being sidelined by the shingles virus. He gave up three runs, nine hits and a walk while striking out three.

The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina scored in the sixth to make it 3-3. Molina reached second base when right fielder Adam Frazier dropped his fly ball, then scored on a single by Randal Grichuk.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: LF Matt Holliday (broken left thumb) was cleared to resume baseball activities and is hopeful of returning before the end of the regular season. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 12.

Pirates: LF Starling Marte sat out a second straight game because of back spasms. … RHP Neftali Feliz, who was removed from Saturday’s game with arm discomfort, is still unable to play catch and likely won’t return until next week. … C Elias Diaz, who was expected to be recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Indianapolis, has instead been shut down for the season after undergoing surgery for a bacterial infection in his left leg.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia (10-11, 4.41 ERA), who has lost his last three starts, faces Milwaukee RHP Junior Guerra (7-3, 2.85) on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game home series.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova is 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in six starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees in a trade Aug. 1. He starts against Cincinnati RHP Dan Straily (11-7, 3.83) to open a four-game home series Thursday.

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