ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright tossed seven effective innings and rookie Edmundo Sosa homered to help the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Wainwright (9-6) allowed three runs and six hits in an 85-pitch stint. He struck out five and walked one in his 176th career victory.

Sosa went 3 for 3, scoring twice and driving in two runs. Dylan Carlson, who also had three hits, and Tommy Edman each doubled twice for St. Louis, which has won four of six.

Jorge Polanco homered for the Twins, who have lost four of five.

The 39-year-old Wainwright, who’s spent his entire 16 seasons in the majors with the Cardinals, beat Minnesota for the first time in his career. He’s beaten 26 of the other 29 teams in the big leagues — he is 0-1 against Texas, Baltimore and the New York Yankees.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to chip those away,” Wainwright said.

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Wainwright made his first appearance against Minnesota since a 3-1 loss on June 26, 2009.

Alex Reyes picked up his 25th save in 26 opportunities with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Wainwright’s biggest contribution may have come in a fourth inning at-bat. He battled Minnesota starter Michael Pineda (4-6) for 10 pitches before hitting a hard grounder to third baseman Luis Arraez, who threw a one-hopper that Miguel Sano was unable to handle at first base. Edman scored on the error to put St. Louis ahead to stay 3-2.

“It was a very impressive moment,” Sosa said.

Wainwright fouled off six pitches, four with two strikes.

“What a winner,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “A tremendous at-bat. He worked his tail off.”

Wainwright also added a pair of sacrifice bunts. A good showing at the plate for him — normally a decent hitter for a pitcher, he’s just 1 for 34 (.029) this season.

“I’ve been working really hard on it,” Wainwright said of his hitting stroke. “I know I have nothing to show for it. My numbers look horrible, the worst in the game, probably. But I’ve been taking better at-bats. Really working on my strike zone discipline.”

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Pineda downplayed Wainwright’s fourth-inning plate appearance.

“It did not affect me at all, had nothing to do with today’s outing,” Pineda said.

His manager, Rocco Baldelli, disagreed calling it, “a big moment in the game.”

“The longer the at-bat went, it looked like the more comfortable he got,” Baldelli said.

Pineda surrendered three runs, two earned, on five hits over four innings.

The Twins took a 2-0 lead on a two-run single by Andrelton Simmons in the first inning.

MOLINA MOVES UP

Yadier Molina moved to fourth on the Cardinals all-time hit list with a pair of singles. He now has 2,075 hits and passed Albert Pujols, who had 2,073.

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HILL TO CLIMB

The Cardinals finished July 9 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central. The last time they were that far behind entering August was 1999 when they were 11.5 games back of Houston with a 52-52 mark.

MOVING ON IN

St. Louis LHP J.A. Happ will make his first start for the Cardinals on Wednesday against Atlanta. Happ (5-6, 6.77) was acquired from Minnesota in exchange for RHP John Gant and LHP Evan Sisk on Friday,

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: INF Josh Donaldson missed his third successive game with a hamstring issue.

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty tossed three innings in his second rehab start at Triple-A Memphis on Sunday. He gave up two runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked one. Flaherty was placed on the 60-day injured list on June 1 with a left oblique strain.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (4-4, 4.40) will face Cincinnati RHP Tyler Mahle (8-3, 3.79) in the first of a two game series on Tuesday in Cincinnati. Maeda is 1-1 with 2.15 ERA over his last five starts,

Cardinals: LHP Jon Lester (3-5, 5.02) will make his Cardinals debut in the first game of a three-game set against Atlanta LHP Max Fried (7-7, 4.32) on Tuesday. Lester was acquired from Washington in a trade for OF Lane Thomas at the deadline. Lester has pitched at least five innings in all 13 career starts against the Braves.

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