A mess of a third inning for A.J. Burnett, and a slumbering Pirates offense, resulted in a 9-1 win for the Cardinals in Game 1 Thursday.
Adam Wainwright dominated the Bucs, striking out nine batters and getting 11 ground ball outs while allowing just three hits over seven innings. One of those three hits was a long fifth-inning Pedro Alvarez home run that meant absolutely nothing.
By that point, the Cardinals had already racked up seven runs in a terrible third inning for Burnett. It started with a leadoff walk to Wainwright, and then Matt Carpenter hit a ground ball single. Then Carlos Beltran hit a fastball inside the right-field foul pole for a three-run homer.
Still with no outs, Burnett allowed a double to Matt Holliday, then an HBP to Matt Adams and walks to Yadier Molina and Jon Jay, the latter of which brought in a run. I get that Burnett is one of the Pirates' best pitchers, but Clint Hurdle was frustratingly slow to turn to the bullpen even after it became obvious that it wasn't Burnett's day -- this isn't like a random afternoon in May when you can have a "let's get 'em tomorrow" attitude, and try to spare your bullpen when your starter is getting crushed. Anyway, Burnett then gave up a two-run single to David Freese. Marlon Byrd made an error on the play, further demonstrating that the Pirates didn't really do well in any facet. Finally, Hurdle turned to Jeanmar Gomez, who proved that it was still possible to get the Cardinals out, but the game was already gone by that point -- check out the look in Alvarez's eyes in the photo above.
Just before the game, I'd found myself on a radio interview talking about how much "momentum" the Pirates had coming out of the win in the one-gamer against the Reds. As I was coming out of my mouth, I knew it was stupid, but I didn't realize how stupid. Oh well, what can you say? Let's get 'em tomorrow? That's stupid, too, but it's all I've got.