PITTSBURGH, SEPT. 21 -- The Pittsburgh Pirates' magic number is nine, but Barry Bonds says it's really 41. That's pitcher Zane Smith's number.

Smith pitched a five-hitter to improve to 5-1 with Pittsburgh and Sid Bream broke a scoreless tie with a one-out double in the seventh inning, leading the division-leading Pirates past the St. Louis Cardinals, 1-0, tonight.

The Pirates, trying for their first National League East title since 1979, increased their lead over slumping second-place New York to 3 1/2. The Mets lost to Chicago, 4-3, today.

Bonds, who has 32 homers, became the second 30-50 player in major league history by stealing his 50th base as the Pirates won their third straight since ending a season-high six-game losing streak.

Smith has been nearly unbeatable -- and, at times, nearly unhittable -- since being traded by Montreal on Aug. 8. He has a 1.33 ERA in eight Pirates starts and has allowed just three runs in 40 innings -- an 0.68 ERA -- in his last five starts.

"Just look at the statistics, man, that shows you what he's meant to us," Bonds said. "He's been the biggest part of the club since we got him. We needed another left-hander to go with {John} Smiley and it's worked out great."

"We knew we were getting a good pitcher, but I don't how you can say we knew we were going to get this," Leyland said of Smith, who can become a free agent this winter. "He's pitched outstanding, just great. He throws strikes, works fast and keeps the defense in the game."

Smith, who was 6-8 with Montreal, has only one regret.

"I just wish I'd been here all year to see what I might have done," he said. "I'm really getting caught up in this pennant race fever. I'm catching it."

Bonds singled to center to start the seventh against Jose DeLeon, who had allowed two hits in six innings. Bream then doubled into right-center, scoring Bonds standing up, and moved to third on Mike LaValliere's fly ball.

Jose Lind was intentionally walked, but DeLeon (7-18) walked Smith to load the bases and bring on reliever Frank DiPino, who struck out pinch hitter Jeff King and Jay Bell.

Smith (11-8) struck out 10, the most by a Pirate this season. A combined 1-13 for Atlanta and Montreal last season, he hasn't yielded an earned run in three of his last five starts.

Bonds walked with two outs in the fourth, then ran on the first pitch for his 50th stolen base. His previous career high was 36 stolen bases as a rookie in 1986.