PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals took the field on Tuesday night looking up at the Pirates.
With a 2-1, walk-off, extra-inning win in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, Pittsburgh leapfrogged St. Louis in the National League Central. Alex Presley's RBI single sent the Cardinals to a season-worst fifth straight loss and moved the Pirates into first place for the first time since July 6.
It will take a win behind rookie lefty Tyler Lyons in Game 2 for the Cardinals to finish the day back in first.
"You've got two of the better teams in the league playing, doing things that we've been able to do, things they've been able to do," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Pitching was extremely good today. Outstanding defense all over the place. As we've tried to script up throughout the season, [you] score one more run than the other team."
After holding the Pirates scoreless for nine innings, the Cardinals' pitching staff budged in the 11th. Lefty Kevin Siegrist issued consecutive one-out walks to Russell Martin and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez. On the sixth pitch of his at-bat, Presley laced a ball up the middle that Siegrist tipped with his glove. The change of direction on the ricochet left shortstop Pete Kozma without a play, and Martin scored from second.
Had Siegrist not gotten his glove on the ball, Kozma appeared set up to start a double play.
"It was right to him," manager Mike Matheny said. "Instinct for a pitcher is to try and get the ball."
An inning earlier, the Cardinals wasted a chance to hand a lead to closer Edward Mujica. A leadoff walk and a one-out single by Jon Jay put Shane Robinson on third with one out. Matt Holliday's sharply hit grounder to short was turned into an inning-ending double play. Holliday has now grounded into a league-high 24.
A Cardinals offense that has been quiet throughout this winless road trip finished with just six hits. The bats stirred against A.J. Burnett in the early innings but had only one run to show for all the activity.
Andrew McCutchen's diving catch in the first turned what could have been a two-run hit for Carlos Beltran into an inning-ending double play. McCutchen came up to bat minutes later, and doubled and scored when Pedro Alvarez followed with his own two-base hit.
"I was up that first inning with everything," Burnett said. "He made that play, made me realize what I needed to do. It wakes you up a little bit."
The Cardinals came away with their only run after loading the bases with no outs against Burnett in the third. After a Jay strikeout, Kozma went home on Holliday's groundout to tie the score. Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones snagged Beltran's liner to end the threat.
A St. Louis team that has thrived with runners in scoring position this season went 1-for-10 in those spots on Tuesday.
"We've had a lot of good things happen with guys in scoring position," Matheny said. "We've talked about it all year. We had some hard-hit balls with guys in scoring position, it just didn't work out."
Fortunate for the Cardinals, Lance Lynn was just as stingy as Burnett. After allowing the consecutive two-out doubles in the first, Lynn gave up one other hit in his six-inning start. He walked two in the fourth but wiggled out of that trouble by striking out the side. He was poised to pitch deeper, too, until Matheny pulled him when an opportunity to pinch-hit Allen Craig with a runner on arose in the seventh.
Burnett struck out Craig to end the inning and his outing.
This marks two impressive starts by Lynn following his troublesome July 20 outing. The issues he had that night with his pace and emotions have been righted these last two times out. He's combined to allow eight hits and two runs in a combined 13 innings.
"He was right on," Matheny said. "Everything he was doing today, if we can keep him doing that the rest of the season, he's going to win a lot of games."
With the tight turnaround between games, the Cardinals did not make Lynn -- or anyone else -- available for comment.
Seth Maness, Randy Choate, Trevor Rosenthal and Michael Blazek combined for four scoreless innings behind Lynn.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.