PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Pirates opened their nine-game home stand with a win, beating the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-2.

James McDonald (8-6, 4.20 ERA) allowed two runs and struck out four over five and 2/3 innings Monday night at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh (57-63) took an early lead when Xavier Paul hit a homerun in the first. The Cardinals tied it in the third when Rafael Furcal had an RBI double.

Ryan Doumit hit a three-run homer at the bottom of the fourth to give the Bucs a 4-1 lead.

St. Louis’ David Freese batted in Albert Pujuols to make it 4-2 in the sixth. The Pirates answered that run when Neil Walker scored after a throwing error by Furcal.

Walker then hit an RBI double in the seventh.

St. Louis, which had won three of its last four, fell 5½ games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. The Brewers were hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

The Cardinals’ Ryan Theriot had three hits and Matt Holliday doubled twice, including the 200th of his career.

Jake Westbrook gave up five runs, four earned, and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings while walking one and striking out three.

Jose Veras got what was likely the biggest out of the game for Pittsburgh when he relieved Daniel McCutchen in the seventh. With two outs and runners on first and second with a 5-2 lead, Veras got Pujols to look at a called third strike on a curveball on the inside corner.

Pujols went 1 for 4 with a single one night after taking over the NL home run lead with 29. He is looking to hit 30 homers for the 11th consecutive season.

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