Better late than never has been a theme for the Cardinals of late one they used to advantage to take two of three games from Milwaukee this week.

With a helpng hand from the opponent the offense showed up in the nick of time again Friday as the Cardinals rallied to beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1. The baserunning of Pete Kozma – and the defense of the Mariners - proved to be the difference.

Kozma dashed home with the determining run in the 10th inning on a passed ball. Entering in a key role in the eighth Kozma started the 10th with a single. With two outs he advanced to third as Seattle lefty Oliver Perez walked the first two hitters he faced lefthanded swingers Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay.

With Matt Holliday at the plate Perez's pitch deflected off the glove of rookie catcher Mike Zunino and caromed away. Kozma took off for home and slid in safely.

With the Pirates losing to the Cubs the victory pushed the Cardinals back into the penthouse of the National League Central one game ahead of Pittsburgh. Cincinnati also lost so the Cardinals moved 3 ½ ahead of the Reds.

The victory rewarded a crowd of 40506 which pushed the team's attendance over the 3 million mark for the 10th consecutive season.

Unfortunately for Adam Wainwright the come from behind didn't come soon enough. The Cardinals starter was seeking his 17th victory and hoping to keep alive a chance for a 20-win season alive. But Wainwright departed on the wrong end of a 1-0 score having allowed just six hits over eight innings. Zunino's 435-foot home run in the fifth inning was the only blemish.

Meanwhile the Cardinals could do nothing with Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma who handcuffed them with his hesitating delivery. Iwakuma allowed just three hits over seven innings and was in place to get is 13th win when he handed the game over the Seattle bullpen in the eighth.

But things quickly fell apart in his absence. Lefthander Charlie Furbush succeeded Iwakuma to the mound but his defense went on break. And again Kozma used his legs to further the Cardinals cause.

With one out the Cardinals sent Brock Peterson to pinch-hit for Wainwright. Peterson lifted a a lazy pop fly on the infield but second baseman Nick Franklin seemed to struggle to find the ball in the lights before missing connections altogether. Hustling all the way Peterson stood on second as a result of the error. Kozma entered to pinch-run for Peterson.

On ball four to Matt Carpenter Kozma stole third base which proved crucial. The next hitter Jon Jay pounded a potential double play ground ball to second. Franklin threw to shortstop Brad Miller for a force on Carpenter but Miller's pivot was in the dirt and bounced past first baseman Kendrys Morales. Kozma scored on the play to tie the game 1-1.