PITTSBURGH — Slumping Garrett Jones hit his 100th career homer and drove in four runs as the Pirates beat the St. Louis 5-0 Friday and moved into a tie with the Cardinals for the NL Central lead.
Jones had three hits and Russell Martin added his 12th homer of the season. Jose Tabata and Neil Walker got two hits as the Pirates moved within four victories of their first winning season in 21 years.
Francisco Liriano allowed just two hits over eight innings, walking two and striking out six to reach the 15-win plateau for the first time.
Jones came in hitting .119 in August but broke out against St. Louis starter Shelby Miller. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle had given Jones some time off to figure things out earlier this week. For a night, the tinkering worked.
Jones hit a two-run double in the first to give Pittsburgh the lead, added a homer to right off Miller in the fourth and followed it up with an RBI single in the fifth.
That was plenty for Liriano. The left-hander is in the midst of a midcareer revival and he improved to 4-0 against the Cardinals.
Liriano pitched a complete game in a 5-1 win at St. Louis two weeks ago and was even more dominant in front of a packed PNC Park that is still getting used to being in the thick of a pennant race.
The Cardinals managed only one runner in the last six innings, and no one got past second base in the game.
Behind Liriano and Jones, Pittsburgh righted itself following a bumpy three-game set against Milwaukee earlier in the week.
Miller is in the midst of a breakout rookie season but hasn't figured out a way to solve the Pirates. He fell to 0-4 against Pittsburgh, though his hitters haven't done him any favors. The Cardinals have produced just one run in Miller's four starts against Pittsburgh.