PITTSBURGH (AP) — Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler had not felt fully healthy for quite a while. But nothing was ailing him when St. Louis faced Pittsburgh at PNC Park.
Fowler's two-run triple sparked the Cardinals to an 11-7 comeback win over the Pirates.
"(Fowler is) fitting into those spots in big situations," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He's coming up with those big hits that we keep talking about that are so pivotal to a team going on a good run."
With the Cardinals trailing 5-4 with one out in the seventh inning, Fowler tripled down the right field line off reliever Joaquin Benoit to give St. Louis a 6-5 lead.
Yadier Molina followed with an RBI single to make it 7-5 and chase Benoit (1-6), who allowed three runs on three hits in a third of an inning. Benoit has surrendered nine runs in six games for the Pirates since being acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on July 31.
St. Louis added four more runs in the ninth inning before Pittsburgh answered with two in the bottom half.
Fowler went 2 for 3 with three RBIs, scored three runs and walked twice in his 10th game since getting off the 10-day disabled list with a wrist injury.
"I feel healthy," Fowler said. "I was actually telling Chris Carpenter when I came back that this is actually the first time since we went into spring training that I feel like I'm healthy."
Righty Sam Tuivailala (3-1) pitched one scoreless inning for the win. He allowed three hits but escaped trouble with two strikeouts.
Pittsburgh left the bases loaded in the sixth inning and stranded runners on second and third in the seventh.
After trailing 5-1 at the end of the third inning, St. Louis rallied to avoid a fourth straight loss while Pittsburgh's losing streak reached five games. The Cardinals remain third in the National League Central, 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs.
Josh Harrison gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead with a two-run home run in the first inning. Three straight RBI singles in the third pushed the Pirates' lead to 5-1.
"Anytime you lose like that it's tough," Harrison said. "We're going to keep playing until the game's over. Nothing to hang our heads about. Just got to keep plugging."
The Cardinals came back with a run in the top of the second to make it 2-1 before scoring one more in the fourth and two in the fifth to cut the deficit to 5-4. Fowler singled in the fifth to drive in their fourth run.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright lasted just three innings for the second time in his past three starts while allowing five runs on seven hits.
Matheny said Wainwright would likely be sent back to St. Louis on Friday to be evaluated. He came off the 10-day disabled list on Aug. 6 after recovering from back tightness.
"It's real disappointing because this time of year, what are we one game back? This is usually when I go," Wainwright said. "It's hard for me to look my guys in the face and tell them that I'm sorry and it wasn't as good as it needed to be."
Pirates left-hander Jameson Taillon was lifted after rain halted play following the fifth inning. He surrendered four runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in five innings.
"The weather looked like it was starting to get a little challenging to navigate," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It seemed like the more he stayed out there in the rain, the more (Taillon's) execution seemed to tail off some."
The game resumed in the top of the sixth inning following a delay of one hour and 12 minutes.
DANCING IN THE RAIN
The game was delayed 20 minutes due to rain before starting at 7:25 p.m. While waiting to play, Harrison entertained the Pittsburgh crowd by dancing to "Cotton-Eye Joe" by Rednex. The Pirates second baseman stopped his stretching exercise to perform in left field as the fans applauded.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 14 with left wrist inflammation after sitting out the previous three games. He has hit .249 with five home runs and 31 RBI in 80 games this season. IF Max Moroff was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to take the roster spot.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (9-9, 3.56) could win a third straight start when he takes the mound against the Pirates on Friday. He surrendered a combined five runs in two consecutive wins, 11-3 over the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 7 and 6-5 over the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 12.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (5-5, 4.19) will look to bounce back from losing his last start when he faces the Cardinals on Friday. He allowed four runs - three earned - in six innings in a 7-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 12.