Albert Pujols hit his 701st career homer as the St. Louis Cardinals edged the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Friday.
Pujols received a commemorative gold bat for his 700th homer in pregame ceremonies, then he hit No. 701 leading off the fourth inning for the Cardinals (91-66). It was his 22nd of the season.
Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (2-1) allowed one run on four hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Ryan Helsley worked around a walk in the ninth inning for his 19th save.
Johan Oviedo (4-3) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings for the Pirates (59-98). He fanned four and walked two.
Pittsburgh saw its three-game winning streak end while St. Louis won for just the fourth time in 10 games.
Oviedo escaped trouble in the first inning. Brendan Donovan walked leading off and Paul Goldschmidt reached on a one-out error, but Nolan Arenado’s forceout and Pujols’ groundout stranded them.
Flaherty worked out of a second-inning jam. Jack Suwinski hit a leadoff single, Ben Gamel walked with one out, and Rodolfo Castro loaded the bases with a single.
Jose Godoy struck out, though, and Ji Hwan Bae grounded into an inning-ending forceout.
Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds was hit by a pitch with one out in the third inning and Suwinski walked with two outs before Ke’Bryan Hayes flied out to end the inning.
Lars Nootbaar and Goldschmidt hit two-out singles in the bottom of the third, but Bae ended the threat with an outstanding catch on Arenado’s drive to the wall in left-center.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Gamel led off with a double, took third on a groundout and scored on Bae’s two-out bunt single.
Pujols’ homer tied the game in the bottom of the inning, and the Cardinals moved ahead 2-1 in the fifth inning on singles by Donovan, Goldschmidt and Arenado.
Bae hit a one-out double in the seventh inning and Oneil Cruz walked. After Reynolds struck out, Giovanny Gallegos replaced Andre Pallante on the mound and got Miguel Andujar on an inning-ending forceout.