The St. Louis Cardinals scored five times in three innings off Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett on Friday night, and added seven tallies in the seventh inning off two Pirates relievers before holding on for a 12-8 win and move to within a half-game of the first-place Bucs in the National League Central Division.
Burnett (7-10; 3.31 ERA) left the game after three innings in his shortest stint of the season. St. Louis (81-60) scored three seventh-inning runs off Jared Hughes and four more in the same frame off Bryan Morris. Three other Pittsburgh relievers, Kris Johnson, Vin Mazzaro and Kyle Farnsworth, combined for four innings of shutout ball.
The Pirates found themselves trailing 12-1 after the seventh inning before they exploded for seven scores in the final two frames.
The Cardinals outhit Pittsburgh 16-13, and the Bucs left 12 runners on base.
John Jay had three hits and three RBI’s for St. Louis. Carlos Beltran recorded three hits and two RBI’s. Yadier Molina slammed his 11th home run. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly (8-3; 2.74 ERA) worked six innings for the win, and is now 8-0 in his last 11 starts. Kelly allowed one run and eight hits, struck out four batters and walked three.
For Pittsburgh (81-59), Josh Harrison hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer, Jose Tabata tallied two hits and two RBI’s and Pedro Alvarez, who also recorded two hits, drove in his 87th run of the season.
In the second game of the three-game series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Saturday night, Jeff Locke (9-4; 3.22 ERA) returns to the Pirates’ starting lineup, and is scheduled to face Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (15-9; 3.14 ERA). Then, on Sunday afternoon in the final regular season match-up between the two teams, Pittsburgh is scheduled to start Charlie Morton (7-3; 3.00 ERA) against the Cards’ Mike Wacha (2-0; 3.20).