Braden Looper (6-3) pitched six strong innings, giving up only one earned run on just three hits as the St. Louis Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, downing the Bucs 3-1 Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals struck first with two runs in the 2 nd inning. A Yadier Molina double brought home So Taguchi from first base. Molina then came home on an Aaron Miles single.

Pittsburgh got on the board in the 6 th on Jose Bautista’s third homer of the season for the Pirates’ only run. The Redbirds scored an insurance run in the 8 th when Scott Rolen came home from third base on a Yadier Molina sacrifice fly.

Jason Isringhausen pitched the 9 th inning, earning his tenth save. Pittsburgh starter Tom Gorzelanny (5-3) took the loss after giving up two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Cardinals (19-25) open a weekend series with the Washington Nationals on Friday at Busch Stadium. Anthony Reyes (0-7) takes the hill for the Cards against Washington’s Micah Bowie (0-2).