Carlos Beltran had RBIs his first two at-bats to help chase A.J. Burnett early and Joe Kelly beat the Pittsburgh Pirates for the third straight time in a 12-8 rout Friday night that pulled the St. Louis Cardinals within a half-game of the NL Central leaders.
Burnett (7-10) gave up five runs in three innings, his shortest outing of the year, and the Cardinals opened a seven-run seventh with nine straight hits off three relievers including Yadier Molina's three-run homer off Bryan Morris.
The Pirates have lost two straight, both blowouts, and remain a win shy of clinching their first winning season since 1992.
Kelly (8-3) has been the stopper lately for a struggling rotation, winning five straight starts.
He's 8-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 11 appearances since getting the fifth spot in late June and then waiting 14 days because of off-days in the schedule to make that start.