Schumaker's pinch homer leads Cards to win -

Schumaker's pinch homer leads Cards to win

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Skip Schumaker's first career pinch-hit home run started a five-run eighth-inning rally for St. Louis that included Pirates pitcher Matt Capps' ejection for hitting Albert Pujols, and the Cardinals finished off a three-game sweep by winning 7-3 Sunday.

The Pirates lost a 3-2 lead in the eighth while dropping their eighth in a row, all at home. They are two losses away from their longest home losing streak since PNC Park opened in 2001, a 10-game run in 2005.

Joel Pineiro (10-9) fell behind 3-0 as Steve Pearce hit a two-run homer, but stayed in to pitch seven innings and improve to 4-0 in his last seven starts.

Matt Holliday hit a sacrifice fly, added two singles and scored twice as the Cardinals won their ninth in 12 games to move to a season-high 12 games above .500.

Capps (2-7), who normally doesn't pitch until the ninth, was brought in with one on and one out in the eighth to try to close it out for Pittsburgh. After fouling off a pitch, Schumaker hit a drive into the right-field seats for his fourth homer of the season and a 4-3 lead as many in the crowd of 24,364 booed the latest Pirates bullpen failure.

Since the Pirates traded left-handed reliever John Grabow near the trading deadline, their relievers have allowed 30 runs in 30 2-3 innings.

Capps threw a strike to Pujols before hitting the major league RBIs leader with a pitch in the ribs. Pujols glared toward Capps but didn't make a move toward the mound, and home plate umpire Mike Estabrook immediately ejected Capps although no other batter in the game had been hit. Pirates manager John Russell argued briefly.

The incident appeared to trigger the big inning by St. Louis, which swept the Pirates for the first time since Sept. 28-30, 2007. Ryan Ludwick followed Holliday's single with a two-run double off Jesse Chavez and Khalil Greene had a run-scoring single.

The Pirates wasted an effective start by Zach Duke, who gave up three runs -- two earned -- over 7 1-3 innings while lowering his ERA to 3.40. Pineiro allowed nine hits over seven innings, but struck out six and walked none.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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