PITTSBURGH (AP) _ For two years, St. Louis Cardinals starter Donovan Osborne couldn't get a win. For the last 10 days, he can't lose.

Osborne won his third consecutive start after going 16 without a victory, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

Osborne (3-6) had gone from Aug. 18, 1993 to Sept. 8 without a victory, losing seven decisions in the 16 starts. He missed all last season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his shoulder and spent nearly two months on the disabled list this year because of a sore left elbow.

``He really pitched pretty well in a bunch of starts, good enough to win, but some things happened,'' Cardinals manager Mike Jorgensen said. ``He pitched well tonight and we scored some runs for him.''

Osborne traces his newfound success to the first win, a 5-2 decision over San Diego.

``My confidence has really grown,'' he said. ``That first win really helped out. My pitches are working, my fastball is a little stronger and I'm making pitches when I have to.''

T.J. Mathews pitched the ninth for his second save. Tom Henke, who has 33 saves, threw a high number of pitches on Saturday and Jorgensen wanted to give him two full days off.

Pirates starter Esteban Loaiza (8-9) lost his fourth consecutive start, his longest losing streak of the year. He is 0-3 with a 10.22 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals this year.

Loaiza's up-and-down performances have taxed manager Jim Leyland's patience all season and this game was no exception.

``He goes 0-2 on a guy and walks him. He goes 0-2 and gives up a hit. He goes 0-2 and hits a guy,'' Leyland said. ``He's got a chance to be a good one but he's got to learn to put hitters away.''

Brian Jordan had an RBI single in the first for St. Louis, a run that was unearned because of shortstop Jay Bell's error.

Loaiza loaded the bases to start the fifth by giving up a walk, a single and hitting a batter. John Mabry and David Bell had RBI infield singles and Scott Hemond hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.

Osborne left the game after allowing two singles to start the seventh. Nelson Liriano hit an RBI double off Rich DeLucia and an unearned run scored on Hemond's passed ball.

Jose Oquendo went for 4-for-5 for the Cardinals, matching his career high for hits in a game.

The paid attendance was announced as 8,858, which is based on tickets sold. It appeared that fewer than 2,500 fans actually turned out for the game between the two bottom teams in the NL Central on a night when the Steelers played the Miami Dolphins on television.

The Pirates have gotten used to small crowds this month. The Cardinals were surprised.

``I thought I was playing in a high school game,'' outfielder Ray Lankford said.

Notes: Bernard Gilkey stretched his hitting streak to 10 games ... Lankford is 0-for-7 since his streak ended at 16 games ... Right-hander Alan Benes will make his major league debut Tuesday night against the Pirates. He was the Cardinals' first-round selection in the 1993 draft. Benes' older brother, Andy, pitches for Seattle and a younger brother, Adam, is in the Cardinals' system. ... Benes will be the 48th player used by the Cardinals this season. The franchise record is 49, set in 1959. ... The Pirates signed a working agreement with the Escogido Lions of the Dominican Winter League. Marc Hill will manage the team and Tom Dettore will be the pitching coach. Both work in the Pirates' minor league system. The Pirates will send pitchers Steve Cooke, Rick White, Gary Wilson, John Hope and Matt Ryan along with first baseman Mark Johnson to Escogido. ... Monday's game was the Pirates' 2,000th regular season game at Three Rivers Stadium. Their record is 1,122-878.