ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Francisco Liriano was dominant coming off the worst outing of his career and the Pittsburgh Pirates got home runs from Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones in a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
The win snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak and gave Pittsburgh a three-game lead in the NL Central.
The Pirates had a five-run cushion after four innings against rookie Shelby Miller, who didn't miss a turn five days after getting drilled on the elbow and lasting just two pitches against the Dodgers. They're 8-4 against the Cardinals heading into the series finale matching A.J. Burnett and Lance Lynn.
Pittsburgh totaled just 10 runs during the losing streak and won in 2 hours, 30 minutes one night after losing 4-3 in 14 innings in a game that lasted 4:55.
Liriano (13-5) allowed four hits with six strikeouts and needed just 94 pitches to beat the Cardinals for the second time this year. He is 3-0 in his career against St. Louis. His last time out, the lefty was punished for 10 runs in 2 1-3 innings at Colorado.
Matt Carpenter doubled and eventually scored on a groundout by Carlos Beltran in the ninth to snap Liriano's shutout bid. He settled for his second complete game of the year.
Alvarez hit his 29th homer an estimated 440 feet to straightaway center leading off the second against Miller (11-8), and with one out Jones lined his 11th over the right field wall estimated at 392 feet. Starling Marte's two-run double capped a three-run fourth, with two of the runs unearned due to fielding error by third baseman David Freese.
Miller gave up two homers for the fourth time and has lost all of those starts, twice against Pittsburgh. In six innings, he gave up five runs, three earned, on eight hits.
Liriano retired the side in order six times, twice with the help of double plays. A third double play helped him escape without damage in the second when the Cardinals got two of their hits.
In the three starts prior to his clunker at Colorado, Liriano allowed one earned run over 21 2-3 innings in winning three straight starts.
The Cardinals are 3-6 with one game to go on a 10-game homestand that began with series losses to the Cubs and Dodgers.
Notes: The Pirates have outscored the Cardinals 14-2 in Liriano's two starts this year. ... Tabata missed his second straight start but entered as a defensive replacement in right field in the eighth. He was scratched with flu-like symptoms Tuesday. ... The Cardinals left a season-high 17 runners on base Tuesday night. ... Matt Holliday has 17 hits during an 11-game hitting streak but also grounded into his major league-leading 27th double play. He also lined into a twin killing in the fourth. ... Nine of the homers off Miller have come with the bases empty.
David Kwiatkowski (kwiht-KOW'-skee) agreed to plead guilty to 14 drug theft and tampering charges in New Hampshire and two in Kansas in exchange for a 30- to 40-year prison sentence. He will be sentenced Dec. 3.
Kwiatkowski was accused of stealing painkiller syringes from Exeter Hospital and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood. U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said the guilty pleas are too little, too late given the harm Kwiatkowski caused.
A Michigan native, Kwiatkowski worked in 18 hospitals in eight states before his arrest last year. Forty-six people have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
A traveling hospital technician accused of causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal drug charges in New Hampshire under an agreement that calls for him to serve 30 to 40 years in prison.
The judge asked 34-year-old David Kwiatkowski why he wasn't going to trial. "Because I'm guilty," Kwiatkowski responded. He said he was addicted to drugs and alcohol and was recently diagnosed with depression, for which he is taking several medications.
Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty to 14 charges of drug theft and tampering in New Hampshire, along with two similar counts in Kansas, although he was never formally charged there. Sentencing was set for Dec. 3.
At least two dozen civil lawsuits related to his case are pending, most of them against New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital, where he worked for 13 months.
Originally from Michigan, Kwiatkowski worked in 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired in New Hampshire in 2011. As a traveling hospital technician, he was assigned by staffing agencies to fill temporary openings around the country. Along the way, he contracted hepatitis C, and is accused of infecting others by stealing painkiller syringes and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood.
According to the plea agreement filed Monday, Kwiatkowski told investigators he had been stealing drugs since 2002 - the year before he finished his medical training - and that his actions were "killing a lot of people." His lawyers have declined numerous interview requests.
Forty-six people in four states in hospitals where Kwiatkowski worked have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries: 32 patients in New Hampshire, seven in Maryland, six in Kansas, and one in Pennsylvania. One of the Kansas patients died, and authorities say hepatitis C, which can cause liver disease and chronic health problems, played a contributing role.
In New Hampshire, some of the infected patients have suffered serious physical and emotional issues, according to the plea agreement. Among the seven whose experiences led to the 14 charges, one man hasn't been able to work since developing hepatitis C, another has had trouble controlling his diabetes and sleeping at night and a third is afraid to kiss his wife on the lips, even though the blood-borne virus can't be transmitted that way.
In most of those seven cases, Kwiatkowski was not assigned to assist with the procedures but hospital records showed him accessing the painkillers. In one case, he came in on his day off and insisted on staying even after being told he could go home. One patient remembers not feeling much different after receiving two doses of what was supposed to be a powerful painkiller.
This is the second major setback this year for the Air Force's nuclear weapons force, which is responsible for 450 land-based nuclear missiles on 24/7 alert for potential launch at targets around the globe. Last spring a missile unit in North Dakota received weak grades on an inspection but did not fail it outright; that performance was so poor, however, that 17 officers temporarily lost their authority to operate missiles.
As described to The Associated Press on Tuesday by Air Force Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., failed a nuclear safety and security inspection this week.