Fabio Santos and Luciano were both on target to help Corinthians see off lowly Vitoria 2-1 in Cuiaba on Wednesday.
Full-back Santos made the breakthrough after 19 minutes at Arena Pantanal, unmarked at the back post before firing the ball beyond Vitoria goalkeeper Wilson.
Corinthians appeared to make the points safe 10 minutes from time courtesy of substitute Luciano, who lobbed the ball over Wilson.
Vitoria did manage to pull a goal back four minutes later via Edno, though Corinthians held on for back-to-back wins.
Corinthians leapfrogged Internacional and Atletico Mineiro into third position from 30 games after both teams dropped points.
Internacional suffered their second consecutive defeat, beaten 2-0 at Flamengo on Wednesday following Gabriel's second-half brace.
Mineiro played out a 1-1 draw with third-bottom Bahia on Tuesday.
Corinthians are also just eight points adrift of league leaders Cruzeiro.
In a dramatic finish, Cruzeiro salvaged a point against Palmeiras in stoppage time after substitute Dagoberto cancelled out Pablo Mouche's 89th-mintute opener.
Stuttering Palmeiras thought they had won the game, when Henrique played the ball across the penalty area for Mouche to side-foot into the net.
But Cruzeiro were not to be denied a share of the spoils as Dagoberto poked home a rebound from close range.
Second-placed Sao Paulo - just one point ahead of Corinthians - were also held to a draw after playing out a goalless stalemate at Chapecoense.
In other results, fifth-placed Gremio returned to winning ways courtesy of a 1-0 win over Figueirense.
Without a win in two previous outings, Hernan Barcos' 38th-minute penalty gave Luiz Felipe Scolari's men a timely boost
Figueirense ended the match with 10 men after Rivaldo saw red during the closing stages.
Santos lost for the second time in three matches, this time upstaged 1-0 at home to rivals Fluminense.
Coritiba climbed out of the relegation zone thanks to a 2-0 win over 10-man Botafogo.
Cellar-dwelling Criciuma were condemned to back-to-back defeats, beaten 1-0 by Atletico PR.
Meanwhile, Esquerdinha's 90th-minute match-winner gave Goias a 1-0 victory at Sport Recife.
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