The St Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 in Game 1 of their NLDS matchup to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Pirates really had no chance in this one. Adam Wainwright game out of the gates blazing, and set down the first 11 Pittsburgh hitters in order. Meanwhile, AJ Burnett was melting down on the hill for the Pirates. He allowed three baserunners over the first two innings, but managed to not allow a run. But in the third, Burnett's bubble burst. He walked Wainwight to lead off the inning, and then allowed a single to Matt Carpenter. Carlos Beltran followed up with his 15th career Postseason homer to make it a 3-0 game, but St Louis kept pouring it on. Matt Holliday followed Beltran's homer with a double, and Burnett then plunked Matt Adams. After walking Yadier Molina to load the bases, he then walked Jon Jay to force in a run to make it a 4-0 game. David Freese then singled in Adams and Molina to make it 6-0, and Jay scored on an error by Marlon Byrd. Keep in mind: all this happened with no outs in the third.
Wainwright was marvelous for the Cardinals. After striking out 20 Pirates and walking six in 21 regular season innings,the St Louis ace struck out nine without a walk in his seven innings of work. He also only gave up three hits, and the lone run came courtesy of a Pedro Alvarez solo home run in the fifth. After Alvarez's homer, the Pirates put just one runner on base – Andrew McCutchen, courtesy of a single with two outs in the ninth inning.
Pirates pitching just didn't hold up their end of the bargain. They walked six hitters and struck out only two. Burnett was responsible for four of those walks, and none of those strikeouts. Jeanmar Gomez actually held his own in relief of Burnett, allowing two unearned runs in four innings of work. But the unearned runs brings up another disastrous statistic for Pittsburgh on Thursday – they made three errors! The Pirates' use of defensive shifts during the regular season was a large part of their success, and with Burnett handing out free passes like no one's business, there were always runners on base and the Pirates couldn't shift to the best of their abilities. Thus, you get the absolute disaster you saw in Game 1.
Game 2 will be on Friday at 1:07 PM in St Louis on MLB Network. Lance Lynn will look to give the Cardinals a 2-0 series lead, while rookie Gerrit Cole gets the nod for the Pirates.