Pirates vs. Cardinals National League Division Series score: A.J. Burnett falls apart, Cards take 7-0 lead

Dilip Vishwanat

Burnett's shortest start since August 2011 won't help the Bucs win Game 1.

Well, what started out looking like a pitchers' duel has turned into a blowout. Adam Wainwright and A.J. Burnett traded zeroes in the first two frames, but Burnett completely fell apart in the third.

The Bucs right-hander faced eight batters in the frame but couldn't retire a single one, leaving the game with a 7-0 deficit after just 2-plus innings. It's just the 10th time in MLB history that a pitcher has been pulled that early while allowing seven or more runs. While there are a few solid pitchers among that group -- e.g. Tom Glavine, Mordecai Brown -- it's probably not a list Burnett will enjoy being a part of forever.

After a walk to Wainwright and a single from Matt Carpenter to open the frame, Carlos Beltran got the scoring started for the Cards with a three-run drive to right that sneaked just inside the fair pole, giving St. Louis a 3-0 lead:

Beltran_medium

A Matt Holliday double, a hit-by-pitch and a walk led to the Cards' first bases-loaded scenario of the day. Unable to find the strike zone with any consistency, Burnett proceeded to walk Jon Jay on six pitches, forcing in the fourth run of the afternoon.

Next batter David Freese then singled down the right field line to break the game wide open. A throwing error by right fielder Marlon Byrd allowed all three base-runners to score, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 cushion.

This is where Burnett's day ended:

Freesedbl_medium

Jeanmar Gomez relieved Burnett and managed to get out of the inning without any further damage, and also kept the Cards off the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth.

Wainwright continues to fire on all cylinders for the Cards. The right-hander finally allowed his first two hits with two outs the top of the fourth, but he was able to escape the jam with his fifth strikeout of the game. Waino is at 69 pitches through four, but has thrown as many as 128 pitches in a game this year, so St. Louis could ride him out for a while still before turning things over to the bullpen.

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