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Molina's return boosts Cardinals

Saturday, August 18, 2012 | 7:41 p.m. CDT; updated 11:22 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 18, 2012
The Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates his double against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Yadier Molina had three hits and two RBIs in his return to the lineup, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a big 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

St. Louis bounced back from Friday night's 2-1 loss in the series opener and pulled within a game of Pittsburgh for the second NL wild-card spot. Jaime Garcia is expected to come off the disabled list to start Sunday's series finale against Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens.

Molina also had two RBIs and scored a run after missing the previous three games with a sore back. He hit a tiebreaking two-run double off Erik Bedard (7-13) in the fifth inning to give the Cardinals a 5-3 lead.

Pittsburgh loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Jason Motte but only managed one run on Andrew McCutchen's infield out. Garrett Jones struck out swinging and Josh Harrison bounced into a fielder's choice to end the game.

Barret Browning (1-2) pitched a scoreless inning for his first major league win. Motte earned his 28th save in 33 chances after blowing his previous opportunity Thursday against Arizona.

Shane Robinson also had a two-run double for St. Louis, which finished with 11 hits. Rafael Furcal went 2 for 5 and scored twice, and Allen Craig had two singles.

Jordy Mercer went 2 for 4 with two RBIs for the Pirates, who struck out 14 times.

Craig's second hit put runners on the corners with two down in the fifth. Bedard then walked David Freese before Molina came up with his opposite-field double to right to put St. Louis in front.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn allowed three runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

Mercer singled in Clint Barmes in the third and doubled in Starling Marte in the fifth, cutting St. Louis' lead to 3-2. Mercer eventually scored the tying run on Jones' sacrifice fly to right.


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