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Weaver, Nicasio pitch Cardinals past Pirates 4-1

Matt Carpenter scores past Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Luke Weaver pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and also drove in a run Friday night, helping the St. Louis Cardinals improve their postseason hopes with a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cardinals have won seven of nine, pulling within four games of the NL Central-leading Cubs. St. Louis is even closer in the chase for the second wild-card spot.

The Pirates have lost three in a row.

Waver (5-1) has won four straight decisions, not allowing more than two runs in any of them. He gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings.

Weaver drove in the Cardinals' first run with a broken-bat groundout and scored a run.

Juan Nicasio made his St. Louis debut and got four outs for his third. The Cardinals got him from Philadelphia for a minor leaguer earlier in the week.

Nicasio pitched most of the season with Pittsburgh before being plucked off waivers by the Phillies in late August. He spent just six days with the Phillies, appearing in two games.

Trevor Williams (6-8) allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The Cardinals returned home in the early-morning hours after going 7-3 on a road trip that finished in San Diego. The Pirates began a nine-game swing after going 4-3 at home to start September.

Williams gave up runs in the third and fourth, and a two-run single in the fifth to Jose Martinez.

Pinch-hitter Adam Frazier singled in the seventh for Pittsburgh's run.

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