PITTSBURGH -- Sometimes it's not the team that gets the most hits or throws the best pitches that wins. As the Cardinals proved against the Pirates, it also can be the team that knows the rules.
Yadier Molina doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth with his fourth hit, and his alert defensive play possibly prevented a big Pirates eighth inning. St. Louis took advantage of Molina's heady play and several Pittsburgh defensive lapses to beat the Pirates 4-3 on Friday night.
Joe Mather, pinch running in the ninth after Matt Holliday singled for his fourth hit, arrived well behind the throw as he tried to steal second on a pitchout, but somehow got his hand in ahead of Aki Iwamura's tag. Molina followed with his double to the right-field wall off Evan Meek (1-1).
"He is one smart player," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Molina.
Especially when the rulebook is involved.
Ryan Franklin (2-0) got the final four outs for the victory despite throwing a tying wild pitch during the wild eighth, when five of the Pirates' six batters reached base but only one scored.
-- Associated Press