ST. LOUIS (AP) — A small bump in the road.That’s what St. Louis Cardinals infielder Paul DeJong says Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates was.“At this point we’re flushing this one [url=http://www.bravesfanproshop.com/authentic-ronald-acuna-jr.-jersey]Ronald Acuna Jr. Jersey[/url] ,” DeJong said. “And getting ready for L.A.”The Cardinals begin a key four-game series against the Dodgers on Thursday. St. Louis leads Los Angeles by two games for the second NL wild card. The Dodgers beat the Reds 8-1 on Wednesday.The Cardinals are 34-19 under new manager Mike Shildt. They have the most wins in the NL after the All-Star break with 33.Outfielder Harrison Bader is confident St. Louis can break its two-year postseason drought.“The best time to play our best baseball is towards the end of the season,” Bader said. “And I think we’re right there. Pitching, defense, offense, I couldn’t be more excited for these last few games.”Outfielder Tyler O’Neill agreed: “We’ve been playing great in the late innings and had a lot of walk-offs this year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done tonight. But we’ll be ready for what lies ahead.”Jameson Taillon (13-9) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings Wednesday, leaving with a 4-1 lead after the first two Cardinals reached in the eighth. He has held opponents to three earned runs or less in his last 19 starts, the second- longest streak in the NL behind New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom with 26.“His command and his control were at a premium,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “All of his pitches were in good sequence. It was all part of the package.”Taillon has gone seven innings or more seven times this season and has limited opponents to two runs or fewer in all of those outings.“Having a slider helps, it’s something else I can throw,” Taillon said.Jose Martinez hit into a run-scoring forceout in the eighth inning against Felipe Vazquez, who allowed Patrick Wisdom’s run-scoring single in the ninth. Vazquez rebounded to strike out DeJong and Matt Carpenter with two on to end the game for his 22nd consecutive save and 32nd in 36 chances this year.“He went to next-level stuff,” said Pittsburgh catcher Jacob Stallings [url=http://www.bravesfanproshop.com/authentic-sean-newcomb-jersey]http://www.bravesfanproshop.com/authentic-sean-newcomb-jersey[/url] , who drove in three runs. “To get those two punch-outs against those quality hitters was pretty spectacular.”Pittsburgh has won six of eight. The Pirates won 11 in a row from July 11-24.Daniel Poncedeleon (0-2), making his fourth start for St. Louis, allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.Marcell Ozuna had a run-scoring single in the first for the Cardinals, but Stallings hit a sacrifice fly in the second, Jordan Luplow had a go-ahead single in the third, and Stallings boosted the lead to 4-1 with a two-run single off Mike Mayers in the sixth.TRAINER’S ROOMPirates: OF Gregory Polanco underwent surgery to repair an acute dislocation of his left shoulder on Wednesday. He was injured on Friday in a 5-3 win over Miami and is likely out for the rest of the season.Cardinals: INF Jedd Gyorko was activated from the 10-day DL. He had been bothered by a left groin strain. … C Yadier Molina remains out with a sore hamstring.UP NEXTPirates: RHP Chris Archer (4-7, 4.56) will face LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-11, 4.40) in the opener of a three-game series at Milwaukee on Friday. Archer is making his eighth start for the Pirates after he was acquired from Tampa Bay on July 31.Cardinals LHP Austin Gomber (5-0, 2.93) is to take on LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-5, 2.32) in the start of a four-game series against the visiting Dodgers on Thursday. PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ryan Lavarnway was an unlikely candidate to get a big hit in a pressure situation for the Pirates.The 30-year-old fourth-string catcher was playing his 142nd career game, spread out over seven seasons with five teams, and spent most of 2018 with Triple-A Indianapolis.In his second major league at-bat of the season, Lavarnway drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in the 11th inning [url=http://www.bravesfanproshop.com/authentic-preston-tucker-jersey]Preston Tucker Jersey[/url] , giving Pittsburgh a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.Jameson Taillon had a career-high 11 strikeouts and Colin Moran homered for Pittsburgh.It was the second straight night a backup catcher came through for the Pirates. Jacob Stallings had a game-ending single on Monday night.Stallings and Lavarnway split catching duties all season in Indianapolis before being called up for depth in September. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said at the time he wanted to honor the work Lavarnway had done this season.“This organization has been so great to me,” Lavarnway said. “I’m just so grateful for everything about them, really. I really feel like myself as a person and as a player here.”Starling Marte led off the 11th with an infield single off Burch Smith (1-6). Josh Bell walked and Burch struck out Francisco Cervelli before Adam Frazier was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting up Lavarnway’s walk-off hit to shallow center.“I was just trying to not to do much,” Lavarnway said. “I think it would be human nature to try to go up there and hit it into the river.”Taillon pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk. His previous career high in strikeouts was 10, set on July 12.“I worked the top of the strike zone a little bit more than usual, I would say, and then my curveball was the best it’s been the second half,” Taillon said.It looked like the Royals might get to Taillon in the top of the seventh. With runners on second and third, Brian Goodwin hit a flyball to right fielder Pablo Reyes, who threw out Ryan O’Hearn at the plate.It was the first outfield assist for Reyes, a rookie playing his second game in right field.“A great way to end the outing [url=http://www.oriolesfanproshop.com/authentic-j.j.-hardy-jersey]http://www.oriolesfanproshop.com/authentic-j.j.-hardy-jersey[/url] ,” Taillon said. “It’s a good feeling.”Pinch-hitter Hunter Dozier tied the game in the ninth with a double off Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez that scored Jorge Bonifacio. Left fielder Corey Dickerson threw to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who relayed home to throw out Salvador Perez and preserve the tie.Vazquez had not blown a save since May 31, a string of 24 consecutive opportunities converted.Kyle Crick (3-2) retired the side on 10 pitches in the 11th to earn the win.Moran had a pinch-hit home run with two outs in the seventh, his 10th homer this season.Eric Skoglund allowed three hits and struck out two in six innings, his first start this season in which he did not allow a run. It was his second start since returning from an ankle injury Sept. 7“He threw the ball great,” manager Ned Yost said. “Six strong innings. Did a really nice job. Got to 67 (pitches) last time out and was starting to get a little tired. Was in the mid-80s this time and felt great. So he’s getting back on track.”The Pirates improved to 14-5 in interleague play, the second-best record in the majors behind the Boston Red Sox.TRAINER’S ROOMPirates: Frazier did not start but said he was “fine” after fouling a ball off his right knee and leaving Monday’s game with discomfort. He grounded into a fielder’s choice in the ninth and remained in the game in left field. … C Elias Diaz (hamstring) made his first appearance since Aug. 31. He walked as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.Royals: Perez was a late scratch with a recurrence of a nagging left thumb injury. He singled in the ninth. … RHP Jorge Lopez (bruised rib) has still not thrown a between-starts bullpen session. His next turn in the rotation is Thursday against Detroit. The team has not announced a probable pitcher.UP NEXTRoyals: Heath Fillmyer (3-1, 4.76 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale Wednesday. The rookie allowed 10 runs over his previous two starts.Pirates: Chris Archer (4-8, 4.66 ERA) has lost three straight decisions and is 1-4 with a 5.19 ERA since returning from an abdominal injury in early July.