ST. LOUIS, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Carlos Beltran drove in three runs to stake St. Louis to an early lead and the Cardinals then produced a seven-run inning Friday to down Pittsburgh 12-8.
The Cardinals opened a key three-game series with an offensive show that brought them within a half game of the Pirates for first place in the National League Central. Cincinnati, a 3-2 winner over the Los Angeles Dodgers, climbed within two games of Pittsburgh.
St. Louis jumped to a 5-0 lead through three innings thanks chiefly to a two-run single from Bentran in the first and his RBI double in the third.
The Cardinals broke it open with a seven-run seventh, during which 12 batters produced nine hits.
The big inning gave the Cardinals a 12-1 lead and they needed most of it when the Pirates scored seven times over the final two innings.
Joe Kelly (8-3) turned in a six-inning effort for the win, allowing a run on eight hits. The St. Louis bullpen allowed a four-run eighth. A.J. Burnett (7-10) gave up the first five St. Louis runs on six hits in three innings to take the loss.
Josh Harrison hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the Pirates and Jose Tabata had a two-run double in the ninth. For the second straight game the Pirates were unable to produce a victory that would clinch their first winning season in 21 years.