Despite seeing Lofton's career-high 26-game hitting streak stopped, the
edged the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3, and handed Williams his first defeat since last summer.
smacked a three-run homer and
added an RBI double - each after a St. Louis defensive miscue - for Pittsburgh, which has won five of its last six contests.
"We are finally starting to click as a team and it's nice to see all the components working at the same time," Pirates manager
Williams (7-1) had won 10 consecutive decisions since losing at Cincinnati last August 29. But his team's sloppy fielding prevented him from becoming the National League's first eight-game winner this season.
St. Louis led, 1-0, before Pittsburgh's
singled off Williams with two out in the top of the second. Nunez hit a foul ball that
should have caught to end the frame. But the third baseman dropped the pop-up, and Nunez rapped a double to left field to plate Wilson and tie the game.
"I had 0-2 on Nunez after the tough error on a foul ball and threw one right down the middle of the plate," Williams said. "That was a mistake."
One frame later, Lofton led off with a ground ball that Cardinals shortstop
bobbled, allowing the center fielder to reach safely.
followed with a bunt single before Giles sent Williams' 0-1 offering over the wall in right to stake
(2-2) to a 4-1 lead.
"I think it was a cut fastball that he didn't get in as much as he wanted, and I was able to put a good swing on it," Giles said. "When you're facing a guy who hasn't lost yet and with his ERA, it's important that you try to get a lead and let Kip relax and then let our bullpen take over."
"I threw a hanging slider to a very good hitter and he did what he's supposed to do with it," Williams said of Giles.
reduced the deficit to two runs with a home run leading off the bottom of the fourth and made it 4-3 with a one-out RBI double off
in the eighth. But Giles quickly grabbed the ball and threw to shortstop
, whose relay throw nailed J.D. Drew at the plate.
"Those are the type of things that win games for you," McClendon said. "It started with Giles cutting it off in the gap - if that ball gets to the wall, he scores easily. He makes a perfect throw to Jack, and Jack makes a perfect relay throw."
"If I don't cut it off, they win the game," Giles said. "Pujols hit a hard line drive in the gap and you're trying to cut it off because they have a pretty quick runner in Drew coming around the bases. I made an OK throw and Jack made a great throw and Jason (Kendall) had the catch and the tag. It probably ended up being the play of the game."
After the Cardinals loaded the bases, Renteria flied out to the warning track in right-center, and
pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
Lofton went 0-for-5 and failed to match
' 1899 club-record hitting streak of 27 games. But third baseman
singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games.
"He had a hell of a run at it," McClendon said of Lofton. "I told him after the game that I was very proud about the way he went about it. He had some good at-bats today; it just wasn't in the cards. I think everybody in this locker room is certainly proud of him and he certainly represented this organization in a fine way. He'll continue to go out and play and hopefully he'll start another one."
Williams allowed four runs - two earned - and nine hits in eight innings.
"He gave us eight innings. It was a really good effort," Cardinals manager
Tony La Russa
said. "Nunez hit an 0-2 pitch that I'm sure he's not happy about and the pitch that Giles hit had a lot of the plate, but you still got to hit it."
"I let the team down," Williams said. "The defense has been picking me up all year - I let them down. You can't do that. I'm very disappointed."
Wells, making his first start since May 16 due to blisters on his right hand, allowed two runs and three hits in five frames.
"Going into the game, I was conscious of it," Wells said of his 14-day layoff. "It didn't really have any effect on me long-term. It was something in the back of my mind that I knew I had to throw a lot strikes and get ahead of guys."
"For the most part he worked ahead in the count and used his fastball," McClendon said. "He missed a spot maybe once or twice but he was aggressive. When he got his pitches up into the 70s, that was about enough after a two-week layoff. He did a good job for us."