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Pirates whip Cardinals 14-5 for third win in row

Friday, June 29, 2012 | 10:42 p.m. CDT; updated 10:54 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 29, 2012
St. Louis Cardinals' Allen Craig (21) celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning of against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Clint Barmes, pinch hitter Alex Presley and Garrett Jones each homered in a four-run sixth inning that snapped a tie, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 14-5 in a game that began in 101-degree heat Friday night.

Andrew McCutchen had four of the Pirates' season-high 19 hits, the last a three-run homer off Marc Rzepczynski in the ninth. McCutchen also robbed Allen Craig of a third extra-base hit with a running catch near the center field wall in the fifth.

The Pirates have had 38 homers this month, one off the franchise record set in 1975, and the run total was the franchise's best since they also scored 14 on Aug. 31, 2010, against the Chicago Cubs.

Carlos Beltran got his 2,000th career hit on an RBI single in the third against Kevin Correia (4-6), also his NL-leading 60th RBI of the season and giving him an RBI in seven consecutive games. Craig hit a three-run homer and doubled. He is a career .394 hitter (26 for 66) against the Pirates with four homers and 14 RBIs.

Pittsburgh won its third straight after entering the night one game back of Cincinnati for the NL Central lead and a half-game ahead of the Cardinals. The Pirates, who have homered in a season-best seven straight games, can match their longest winning streak of the year on Saturday with Jeff Karstens opposing Cardinals' 10-game winner Lance Lynn.

The Pirates had a pair of big two-out hits earlier, Walker's two-run single in the first and a bases-clearing double by Pedro Alvarez that tied it at five in the fifth. They homered in consecutive at-bats for the second straight game when Barmes and Presley connected to start the sixth and chase Adam Wainwright (6-8).

Correia was lifted after 90 pitches and five innings, with the temperature down only to 96 degrees. He has surrendered 13 homers in his last 11 starts after giving up just one in his first four outings.

Reliever Brad Lincoln allowed one hit in three scoreless innings and struck out four in a row in the seventh and eighth.

Craig provided much of the Cardinals' early offense. He doubled and scored on David Freese's groundout in the second and his 10th homer came the next at-bat after Beltran's 2,000th hit, had given them a 5-2 cushion.

Wainwright struck out seven, fanning leadoff man Drew Sutton twice. He didn't allow a homer his previous four outings and pitched seven innings each of his previous three starts.

Two weeks ago, the 35-year-old Beltran became the first switch hitter in major league history to accumulate 300 homers and 300 stolen bases.


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