PITTSBURGH — Jack Wilson turned an apparent double in the bottom of the ninth into the winning run and the Pittsburgh Pirates, held hitless into the seventh by Jeff Suppan, rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Monday night.
Wilson hit a drive down the left-field line for his NL-leading 104th hit with one out in the ninth against reliever Julian Tavarez (2-1) and, after realizing no one was covering second, kept running on the play.
First baseman Albert Pujols moved over to cut off the throw and appeared to have time to get Wilson at third. His throw sailed wide of the bag and out of play, though, sending Wilson home.
Jose Mesa (1-0) got the victory with a scoreless ninth after starters Suppan and Pittsburgh’s Kris Benson each allowed one run in eight innings. Suppan didn’t allow a hit until Craig Wilson’s opposite-field double with two outs in the seventh, just ahead of Jason Bay’s tying RBI double.
The Pirates won their third in a row but their fourth in 11 games, while the division-leading Cardinals lost for the first time in six games and the eighth time in 32 games.
Suppan looked sharp from the start. He was 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA in his seven most recent starts and had only one hard-hit ball against him until Wilson’s drive into the right-center gap.
The Pirates had only two base runners in the first six innings, Bay in the second on third baseman Scott Rolen’s one-out error and Jason Kendall on a leadoff walk in the fifth.
Benson got off to a shaky start, loading the bases with one out in the first before escaping. He ran into trouble again in the second when Mike Matheny singled with one out and Tony Womack doubled him home, but allowed only two hits over his final six innings.
Suppan was trying to beat the Pirates for the third straight time this season.
TOP PICK SIGNS: The Cardinals reached terms with first-round draft pick Chris Lambert, a Boston College right-hander and the 19th overall pick in this month’s draft.