PITTSBURGH – Mattt Carpenter raced home to break a scoreless tie in the ninth inning when two Pittsburgh outfielders mishandled Jon Jay’s single, and Mark Reynolds followed with a two-run homer to lift the banged-up St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-0 victory on Monday night.
The Cardinals saw their magic number to clinch a third consecutive NL Central drop to two after getting to Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon (3-2).
St. Louis can clinch with a victory Tuesday night at Pittsburgh.
Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty was carted off the field following a violent collision with teammate Peter Bourjos in the seventh. Bourjos reached out and snagged the ball, his knee connecting with the rookie’s head.
Play was delayed for 16 minutes while Piscotty was treated. He was strapped to a backboard and waved his left hand as he was driven away, eliciting a big cheer from the Pittsburgh crowd.
Piscotty has a bruise on his head and all tests conducted were negative, the Cardinals said. He will be held overnight at a hospital for observation.
Carpenter singled with one out and scored all the way from first when Pittsburgh right fielder Gregory Polanco overran Jay’s hit and center fielder Andrew McCutchen couldn’t pick the ball up cleanly.
Reynolds then drilled his 12th homer of the year, helping make a winner of Jonathan Broxton (4-5).
The Pirates got the tying run to the plate in the ninth before Trevor Rosenthal closed the game and the 3-0 victory for his club-record 48th save.