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Cardinals outslug Pirates in opener of key NL Central series

The win, powered by their 1-4 hitters going a combined 10-for-15 with seven
runs scored and eight RBI, moved the Cardinals within a half-game of the NL-
Central leading Pirates.

Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran knocked in two runs apiece and Matt Carpenter
doubled, tripled, scored three runs and drove in another for St. Louis, which
began a nine-game homestand Friday on a high note after a disappointing 2-5
stretch in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Josh Harrison smacked a two-run homer for the Pirates, but only after the
Cardinals blew the game open with a seven-run seventh inning that started with
nine consecutive hits, highlighted by Yadier Molina’s three-run homer.

Joe Kelly (8-3) gave up eight hits and three walks but stranded 10 Pirates and
held them to one run over his six innings of work. The right-hander has won
his last five starts and eight straight decisions overall.

Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (7-10) was knocked out early after surrendering
five runs on six hits in the first three innings.

Beltran lined a shot to center with two on in the opening inning, and the one-
hopper got past Andrew McCutchen, allowing both Carpenter and Jay to score.

Four straight extra-base hits to start the third pushed St. Louis’ lead to
5-0. Carpenter tripled into the right-field corner, Jay doubled him home and
scored on Holliday’s two-bagger, and Beltran capped the frame with an RBI
double.

One of Pittsburgh’s five hits with a runner in scoring position came in the
fifth when Pedro Alvarez singled up the middle to bring in McCutchen, but the
Cardinals’ seven-run seventh essentially sealed the Pirates’ second straight
loss despite a late comeback.

Harrison’s pinch-hit homer powered the Pirates’ four-run eighth, and the
visitors nearly brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after Clint
Barmes walked with the bases loaded and Jose Tabata doubled in two more runs.

Edward Mujica quickly thwarted the rally by retiring Harrison on a flyout to
pick up his 36th save of the year.

Game Notes

Carpenter has 98 hits at Busch Stadium this year, tying the park’s single-
season record set by Albert Pujols in 2008 … Beltran had three of St. Louis’
16 hits … Cardinals reliever John Axford and manager Mike Matheny were both
ejected in the eighth inning after Axford hit Tony Sanchez with a pitch. Both
teams were warned by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo following Bryan Morris’
brush-back pitch on Molina in the seventh … Adam Wainwright will pitch for
St. Louis on Saturday opposite Jeff Locke … Pittsburgh still leads the
season series, 10-7.

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