Big inning helps Cardinals get by the Pirates in the NLDS

Carlos Beltran's three-run homer sparked a seven-run third inning and the St. Louis Cardinals got seven stingy innings from Adam Wainwright, delivering a reality jolt to the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 9-1 rout Thursday in their NL division

series opener.

The first eight Cardinals reached safely in the third to chase A.J. Burnett, saddling the right-hander with the second-shortest outing of his career and putting Game 1 out of reach early.

A sellout crowd roared early and then settled in for an easy victory.

Lance Lynn (15-10) faces Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole (10-7) in Game 2 Friday.

The Pirates ended a 21-year postseason drought and entered their first division series with apparent momentum after beating the Reds in the wild-card game Tuesday.

But they never threatened to rally against the Cardinals' ace.