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Beltran breaks up no-hit bid but Cards lose 5-0

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JOHN PERROTTO | April 18, 2013 12:14 AM EST | AP


PITTSBURGH — St. Louis Cardinals Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina was asked what he thought of rookie Shelby Miller's outing on Wednesday night.

"He was good," Molina said.

Then, Molina was asked about the performance of Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett.

"He was really good," Molina said.

Pittsburgh beat St. Louis 5-0 as Burnett took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Carlos Beltran doubled to right-center with two outs. That was the lone hit given up by Burnett in seven dominant innings while sending the Cardinals to their second loss in seven games.

"It was a well-pitched game on both sides," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Unfortunately for us, their guy was just a little bit better."

Miller (2-1) pitched well despite taking his first loss in four career decisions. He gave up two runs and six hits in six innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

The Pirates struck quickly against Miller as Starling Marte led off the first inning with a triple high off the right-field wall, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Travis Snider singled Marte home.

But after Neil Walker's two-out double in the first inning, Miller retired 15 consecutive batters.

Andrew McCutchen ended that streak with a two-out infield single in the sixth and scored on a single by Walker to make it 2-0. McCutchen and Walker each had two of Pittsburgh's 11 hits.

"We had a chance to do some damage early but Miller got out of that first inning, then he shut us down," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was very impressive. He was everything that we had heard and read about."

Miller would have had to be almost perfect to beat Burnett.

The only other runner Burnett (1-2) allowed besides Beltran came when he hit Daniel Descalso with a 2-2 pitch with one out in the sixth. Burnett struck out eight to raise his season total to 35 in 24 innings.

Beltran felt fortunate to get a hit off Burnett.

"He threw me a slider the pitch before and I thought he would come back with it," Beltran said. "He left it out over the plate. It was about the only bad pitch he made. He was very good."

That ended Burnett's bid for his second career no-hitter. He tossed one on May 12, 2001, for the Florida Marlins in San Diego.

"I looked at Carlos when he got to second base and said, `Couldn't you have had one more swing-and-miss against me?'" Burnett said with a smile.

Burnett threw a called third strike past Beltran for the pitcher's 2,000th career strikeout leading off the second inning.

"My goal every time out is to throw a no-hitter," Burnett said. "I know they are major league hitters that I'm facing and I respect them, but my job is not to give up hits. You should go to the mound with that mindset."

Mark Melancon, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli completed the one-hitter. It was the Pirates' second shutout of the season and the second time the Cardinals had been blanked.

Pittsburgh scored an unearned run in the seventh off Trevor Rosenthal on third baseman David Freese's two-out throwing error on a grounder by Marte. The Pirates added two more in the eighth against Randy Choate as pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez doubled in a run and scored on Pedro Alvarez's single.

NOTES: Matheny gave 1B Allen Craig and SS Pete Kozma the night off and started Matt Adams and Descalso in their places. ... The Cardinals open a four-game series at Philadelphia on Thursday night with RHP Adam Wainwright (2-1, 2.05 ERA) facing LHP Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.56). Wainwright has 24 strikeouts and no walks in his first three starts.