ST. LOUIS -- In the last game of a long and mostly disappointing homestand, St. Louis got the result it needed.
Matt Holliday's one-out single in the bottom of the 12th inning scored Matt Carpenter with the winning run as the Cardinals edged Pittsburgh 6-5 on Thursday to pull within two games of the first place Pirates in the National League Central.
Carpenter drew a walk from Bryan Morris (5-6), the fifth time he reached base in the game. He then moved to third on Jon Jay's single to right before Holliday delivered the hit that ended the 4-hour, 12-minute marathon.
Kevin Siegrist (1-1) worked a 1-2-3 12th for his first Major League win as St. Louis (69-51) finished its homestand at 4-6. Pittsburgh (71-49) ended its road trip at 1-5 and lost a series to the Cardinals for the first time this year.
Neither starter was involved in the decision after looking good early. Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett was knocked out after 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs. St. Louis' Lance Lynn permitted eight hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
After four scoreless innings, both offenses exploded in the fifth. The Pirates grabbed a 4-0 lead on Andrew Lambo's first big league hit, an RBI double to the wall in center, Clint Barmes' two-run homer and a sacrifice fly by Neil Walker. Pittsburgh hit for the cycle in the inning.
But the Cardinals responded with five runs in their half of the fifth against Burnett, who had allowed just three runs in 24 previous innings against them.
Daniel Descalso stroked a two-run single and then scored on Carpenter's triple to the right field corner. Jay's RBI single evened the score and Holliday's double past diving center fielder Andrew McCutchen plated Jay with the go-ahead run.
Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin evened the score in the top of the eighth with a leadoff homer off Trevor Rosenthal, his 11th home run of the year.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina returned from the 15-day disabled list, going 0-for-5 with an eighth-inning strikeout that saw him throw his bat into the hole between third base and shortstop.
NOTES: Besides Molina, St. Louis also activated OF Shane Robinson (shoulder) from the 15-day disabled list and sent INF Jermaine Curtis down to Memphis (Triple-A). The team also put backup C Tony Cruz on the DL with a stress fracture to his left forearm. ... Pittsburgh heads home for a weekend series with Arizona before packing its bags again and starting a West Coast swing on Monday night in San Diego. The Pirates are in the middle of a stretch of 13 road games out of 16, including 10 against NL West clubs ... The Cardinals decided on their rotation for their weekend series in Chicago against the Cubs. RHP Jake Westbrook opens the series on Friday against RHP Jake Arrieta, and RHP Joe Kelly and RHP Adam Wainwright get the ball on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.