St. Louis, MO, United States (4E Sports) – Carlos Beltran tied Babe Ruth with his 15th postseason homer while Adam Wainwright pitched seven innings of one-run ball as the St. Louis Cardinals crushed the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-1, Thursday in Game 1 of the NL Division Series at Busch Stadium.
Beltran’s three-run homer against veteran starter A.J. Burnett ignited a seven-run third inning that gave the Cardinals early control en route to victory in the best-of-five showdown.
With the long ball, Beltran remained third among active players and moved into a tie for eighth place with Ruth on the all-time list with 15 postseason homers.
Only Derek Jeter (20) and Albert Pujols (18) have more homers in October than Beltran among active players. Beltran has far fewer plate appearances than either one, with 153 through his homer (Jeter 734, Pujols 321).
Wainwright (1-0), for his part, allowed three hits with no walk and nine strikeouts to earn the victory while David Freese knocked in two runs for the Cardinals.
In two-plus innings, Burnett (0-1) allowed seven runs, on a combination of six hits and four walks. It was the shortest stint for the veteran starter in the playoff since going two innings in Game 5 of the 2009 World Series.
He departed a start without strikeout for the first time since June 30, 2004, when he lasted one inning for the Marlins in Atlanta.
Burnett opened the third frame by becoming the first pitcher to walk Adam Wainwright this season. Matt Carpenter followed him with a single before Beltran crush Burnett’s 2-1 sinker 443 feet into the right-field second deck.
In the third, the Cardinals sent 11 batters to the plate in the third. Matt Holliday followed Beltran’s blast with a double, and Burnett loaded the bases by hitting Matt Adams and Yadier Molina.
A walk to Jon Jay pushed home a run. The bases then emptied on David Freese’s two-run single and an error by right fielder Marlon Byrd for a 7-0 lead.
A leadoff home run by Pedro Alvarez in the fifth was all that squandered a potential shutout by Wainwright.
The comfortable lead allowed manager Mike Matheny to give rookie Carlos Martinez his first taste of postseason play. Martinez retired the Pirates in order on seven pitches in the eighth. Trevor Rosenthal closed the win with a scoreless ninth.