Right fielder Carlos Beltran did something Wednesday night he never had done. Right-hander Lance Lynn nearly did something he already had done four times this season as the Cardinals pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates, 12-3.
Beltran belted a pair of three-run homers off Pittsburgh right-hander A.J. Burnett, who allowed all the Cardinals' runs in the first three innings after holding them to no runs over seven innings in his first start against them some 12 days ago.
Beltran's second homer, in the third inning, was delayed a bit by an instant replay ruling but when the home-run call was confirmed, Beltran had a career-high seven runs batted in. Beltran, whose initial homer came in the first inning, also had a career-high-tying four hits out of the Cardinals' season high of 17.
Before the game, Beltran, who had been 3-for-32, said, "Hitting is a feeling. Only I know when it's right. Right now, I don't feel right. I feel a little bit uncomfortable in the batters' box."
Several hours later, Beltran said, "Hitting is about feeling. I got the results I was looking for.
"Lately, God knows, I've been searching at the plate, trying to find my swing, trying to feel comfortable, trying to be able to go out there and have quality at-bats. This game can be like this. It's a funny game. You have to stay positive."
Manager Mike Matheny, who had predicted Beltran's breakout before the game, said, "I think the one person that wasn't even beginning to panic was Carlos."
Lynn didn't really need the largesse provided by the Cardinals' offense, which scored a season high in runs. He just pitched his normal game. In his first four games, he had allowed just one run in each. Retiring 15 in a row at one point, he left this game with two outs in the seventh inning, having allowed only one run but another run came home after he left. His earned run average is 1.60.
"He's got good stuff," catcher Yadier Molina. "He's going to go after guys, no matter what the score is."
Lynn, though becoming the only 5-0 pitcher in the National League and the first Cardinals starter to win his first five starts since Bob Tewksbury in 1994, admitted he was mad at himself in how he pitched his final two hitters on Wednesday.
"I walked (third baseman Pedro) Alvarez on four straight (pitches) and then I made a horrible 0-2 pitch to (first baseman Garrett) Jones and that's not the way you want to end your night," said Lynn, who will be 25 next week.
"It was a bad pitch and (Jones) made me pay for it. I've got to make a better pitch there."
Lynn permitted only three hits, including the one to Jones, and a walk Wednesday, meaning that in 33 2/3 innings, he has given up only 19 hits and seven walks, with a stunning WHIP (walks and hits per inning) of .077.
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