Cardinals crush Pirates with seven-run inning

Fri Oct 4, 2013 5:01am EDT
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(Reuters) - Carlos Beltran blasted a three-run home to launch a seven-run, third-inning outburst that carried the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-1 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of their National League Division Series.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright cruised through the first three innings retiring all nine batters, before Pittsburgh starter AJ Burnett had a monumental meltdown yielding four hits, a hit batsman and three walks to the first eight batters in the third.

"We had a rough game. Game 164 was rough," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, whose team won a wild card playoff game against the Cincinnati Reds to advance. "One of the things we do really well is we don't overcook things when we don't play well.

"We're down one game in the series and we'll move on."

The nightmare inning began with a walk to Wainwright and Matt Carpenter followed with a single before post-season slugger extraordinaire Beltran cleared the bases with a long, towering home run into the second deck down the right-field line.

It was Beltran's 15th career homer in the post-season, tying him on the all-time list with Babe Ruth, who belted all of his in the World Series in the days before extra levels of playoffs.

"I was looking for a pitch inside and I got it," said Beltran. "Was a great feeling.

"I've been fortunate to play in my career for the fourth time in the postseason. To be able to come through like that I really enjoy it and am happy for the opportunity."

Matt Holliday then ripped a double to right-center, Matt Adams was hit by a pitch, and a walk to Yadier Molina loaded the bases before John Jay was walked, which produced another run.   Continued...

Oct 3, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran hits a three-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 3rd inning in game one of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports