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A.J. Burnett (http:/sports.yahoo.com)

The St. Louis Cardinals’ offense showed no mercy on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching staff on Monday night on their way to a 10-6 victory in the opening night of a three-game series at PNC Park.  After a rained out game on Tuesday, the Pirates sent A.J. Burnett to the mound to cool the Cardinals’ bats off, and that’s exactly what he did…and then some.

Burnett took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, tossing a one-hit shutout as the Pirates shut down the Cardinals at PNC Park, 5-0.

A.J. earned his first victory of the season, allowing just two base runners in his seven innings of work.  He allowed a two-out double to Carlos Beltran in the seventh, and hit Daniel Descalso with a pitch in the sixth inning.  Other than those two at-bats, Burnett was perfect on this night.  He earned his 2,000 strikeout of his career as well, while also lowering his ERA to 2.62 for the season.

Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, and Jason Grilli combined to toss scoreless, hitless baseball in the game’s final two innings.  Grilli still has yet to surrender a run so far this season.

The Pirates handed Cardinals’ youngster Shelby Miller his first loss of the season, scoring a run in the first inning on an RBI single by Travis Snider, which scored Starling Marte.  The Pirates’ left fielder led off the game with a triple off the wall in right field, pushing his current hitting streak to 10 games.   The Bucs added another run in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Neil Walker, scoring Andrew McCutchen.  They added runs in the 7th and 8th to stretch the lead to five runs.

After struggling to begin the season, the Bucs’ offense has taken strides in recent days.  They tallied 11 hits tonight, including two from McCutchen and Walker.  In fact, every position player had at least one hit tonight for the Pirates, except for Clint Barmes.  Pedro Alvarez smacked an RBI single in the eighth inning, RAISING his average to .089 on the season.

This was a nice response by the Pirates tonight after being dismantled on Monday.  They have now won four of the first five games on this home stand, as they welcome the red-hot Atlanta Braves to town for a four game series at PNC Park beginning tomorrow.  The Braves are coming off a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals today.

Record vs. Cardinals: 1-1

Record vs. N.L. Central: 5-3

Record at Home: 5-3

Overall Record: 7-7

 

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!