Brazil Serie A wrap: Maura powers Sao Paulo
Ney Franco's men were keen to bounce back from their loss at Flamengo and they did so thanks to a hat-trick from Paris Saint German-bound midfielder Lucas Moura.
However, Sao Paulo didn't have it all their own way and found themselves trailing after Gilberto hit the back of the net on 14 minutes.
Recife's lead was short-lived as Lucas restored parity just four minutes later.
The Brazilian international put Sao Paulo ahead at the half-hour mark before an own goal from Rivaldo doubled the visitors lead.
Lucas bagged his hat-trick with 30 minutes left to play, taking his season tally to six.
Hugo pulled a goal back for Recife from the penalty spot but Sao Paulo proved too strong and are now only two points adrift of Gremio, who could only manage a 1-1 draw at Bahia.
Botafogo made it three wins in succession with a thumping 4-0 victory over basement club Atletico GO.
Prized signing Clarence Seedorf opening the scoring in the 21st minute and Dorio doubled Botafogo's advantage on the stroke of half-time before Gabriel and Bruno Mendes completed the scoring in the second-half.
After going seven games without a win, the 1995 champions have shown great resolve to return to winning ways and are now joint seventh alongside Vasco da Gama, who were beaten 1-0 by Corinthians - their fifth consecutive defeat.
In other results, goals from Fred and Rafael Moura inspired fifth-placed Internacional to a 2-1 win at home to relegation-threatened Palmeiras, while Figueirense and Portugesa played out a goalless draw.