PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington spent the hours leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline searching for a way to upgrade the team with the best record in baseball.
The typically buttoned down Huntington even considered taking leave of his senses to do it.
"We talk a lot about, we don't want to do something stupid," Huntington said Wednesday after the deadline passed. "We were willing to do something stupid. We just didn't want to do anything insane."
At the moment, insanity might be defined as breaking up the chemistry the Pirates have spent the last four months cultivating.
Russell Martin drove home Neil Walker with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Pirates rallied past the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 to extend their lead in the NL Central to 2½ games.
Pittsburgh (65-42) has its best record entering August since the 1972 Pirates ended July at 60-35.
Martin's sharp grounder off Trevor Rosenthal (1-2) rolled into left field, giving Walker time to score from second and propel Pittsburgh to its 25th comeback win in an increasingly special season. Pittsburgh is 23 games over .500 for the first time since 1992.
"We can win just about every way possible," manager Clint Hurdle said.
The Cardinals appeared in firm control of the division race two weeks ago but now find themselves staring up at the Pirates, who have taken the first four games of a five-game series.
St. Louis broke out of a slump to put together 13 hits, but the Cardinals left 11 runners on base and dropped their seventh straight. The Cardinals led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 but couldn't hold on.
"You always at some point during the season, every year, no matter what, go through a rough patch," St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright said after failing to earn his 14th victory. "The good teams find a way to get out of that rough patch and find a way to get back to playing good quality baseball, and that's what we're going to do."