Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Neil Walker launched a go-ahead, three- run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday in the opener of a three- game set at PNC Park.
Jhonny Peralta gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead with a solo shot in the top of the frame, but after Jordy Mercer and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez singled to start the home half, Walker clubbed a 2-2 curveball deep into the seats in right to put Pittsburgh on top.
"Any comeback win is important," said Walker. "Our goal right now is to win a series, that's the most important thing."
Tony Watson then spun a scoreless eighth before Mark Melancon worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to nail down his third save of the season.
Justin Wilson (1-0) picked up the win after striking out Matt Adams to end the top of the seventh.
Walker finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored, while Ike Davis drove in two runs for the Pirates, who have won a season-high three straight games.
Allen Craig ripped a three-run homer for the Cardinals, who went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
"(Craig's) not that far off," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "(He) had a couple of hits today and hopefully it is something that will carry into tomorrow."
Carlos Martinez (0-2) was pegged with the loss after giving up Walker's go- ahead blast in the seventh.
Pittsburgh pushed a pair of runs across in the first inning against St. Louis starter Michael Wacha when Davis ripped a two-out, ground-rule double to left, scoring Jose Tabata and Walker, who both singled earlier in the frame.
The Cardinals answered in the fourth, as Peralta and Matt Holliday stroked consecutive singles before Craig followed three batters later with a two-out blast into the St. Louis bullpen in center to give the visitors a 3-2 lead.
Walker pulled the Pirates even in the fifth when he followed Tabata's ground- rule double with a run-scoring single to left, but Peralta restored the visitor's lead in the seventh with a solo shot to center.