Joel Pineiro (11-9) went 6 and 2/3 innings and gave up 3 runs, while Matt Holliday hit his 16th home run of the year to lead the Cardinals (66-52) past the San Diego Padres (49-69) to remain 4.5 games over the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.
Pineiro started off a little shaky, giving up a run in the first inning, but the Cardinals were able to score 3 in the bottom half of the first to give Pineiro a 3-1 lead. Colby Rasmus singled with one out, Albert Pujols doubled and Matt Holliday homered to give the Cards a quick 3-1 lead.
Adrian Gonzalez closed the gap in the third inning when he hit a lead-off solo shot to make it 3-2.
Skip Schumaker made it 4-2 when he drove in Julio Lugo from 2nd with two outs in the fourth. Schumaker did the same in the 6th to extend the Cardinals lead to 5-2. Each time, Pineiro helped his cause, first with a walk in the 4th to push Lugo to second, and then with a sac bunt in the 6th to do the same.
The Padres once again made a comeback bid when they scored 2 in the 7th, but the Cardinals answered with two of their own in the bottom of the seventh.
Ryan Ludwick doubled off reliever Luke Gregerson, who had just entered the game. Mark DeRosa then singled to drive Ludwick in, and Yadier Molina hit a ground rule double. Then Brendan Ryan grounded out to score DeRosa.
Ryan Franklin picked up his 29th save to seal the Cardinals win and keep the Cardinals 4.5 games over the Chicago Cubs, who beat the Pirates today 3-1.
The Cardinals will look to sweep the series behind Kyle Lohse tomorrow afternoon.