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Wacha, Cards shut down Pirates 7-0 in weekend sweep

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Michael Wacha tossed eight shutout innings as the St. Louis Cardinals complete the three-game sweep over the Pirates.

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer and tied a career high with five RBIs, Michael Wacha pitched eight strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0 on Sunday.

St. Louis, which has won three in a row and seven of eight, moved 2 1/2 games behind Chicago in the NL Central. The Cardinals are also 2 1/2 behind Colorado for the second NL wild card.

Randal Grichuk added a solo homer for St. Louis, which improved to 8-2 in September and moved to a season-high seven games over .500.

Pittsburgh dropped its fifth in a row and slumped to 10 games under .500 for the first time since the end the of 2011 season.

Molina pushed the lead to 4-0 with his drive off Ivan Nova (11-13) in the fourth inning.

Molina, who also drove in five runs on Sept. 17, 2010, against San Diego, had an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Wacha (12-7) allowed five hits while striking out seven and did not walk a better in getting his third win in three starts.

Nova gave up five runs and five in hits five innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

TRAINER'S ROOM:

Pirates: INF Josh Harrison has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list with a fractured left hand.

Cardinals: OF Dexter Fowler was held out of the lineup Sunday with a left knee contusion after crashing into the wall on Saturday. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said there was, ''significant swelling,'' and was uncertain on his return. ... OF Tommy Pham is still having vision problems and was held out of the lineup Sunday. He suffers from keratoconus and the problem is heightened during day games.

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Steven Brault (0-0, 5.79) will open a three-game series at Milwaukee on Monday. He will be opposed by RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.52). Brault is making his second start. He was named the Most Valuable Pitcher in the International League after posting a 10-5 mark with a 1.94 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis.

Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (10-7, 2.94) will start on Tuesday in the first of a three-game series against Cincinnati. He will face RHP Robert Stephenson (4-4, 5.15). Lynn has allowed one earned run in his last 14 innings.

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