Originally written on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 8/17/12
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- James McDonald halted a string of ineffective starts with six innings of two-hit ball, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 Friday night in a matchup of NL Central playoff contenders. Andrew McCutchen singled and scored on a passed ball in a two-run fourth for the Pirates, who also scored on a wild pitch that inning. Pittsburgh totaled 41 runs during its first six games in St. Louis this season. McDonald (11-5) was 0-2 in his previous four outings while allowing 20 earned runs over 21 1-3 innings. He coughed up a 7-1 lead in his last start when he allowed six runs in the fifth during a loss to the Padres. Jake Westbrook (12-9) allowed one earned run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings for the Cardinals, who managed only one run for the second straight game. One inning was the difference on Thursday night, too, when closer Jason Motte gave up consecutive homers with one out in the ninth of a 2-1 loss to Arizona. The Cardinals lead the Nation...
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