By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS — 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.
Leadoff man Matt Carpenter tripled and doubled to tie Albert Pujols’ season record of 98 hits in 2008 at 8-year-old Busch Stadium, also his major league high 55th multihit game. Jon Jay, coming off a 1-for-20 trip, had three hits and three RBIs.
The Pirates have scored two runs in 18 innings against Kelly. The only thing the right-hander hasn’t done is save the bullpen, working six innings in each of his last five starts with a season best of 6 1-3 innings.
Pittsburgh had five baserunners and no runs the first two innings and stranded 10 runners in six innings against Kelly, who allowed one run and eight hits. Pedro Alvarez, who grounded out with the bases loaded to end the first, had an RBI single in the fifth.
The Cardinals led 12-1 after seven innings but needed Edward Mujica to get the final out for his 36th save in 39 chances. Josh Harrison hit a two-run pinch-hit homer off Jake Westbrook in a four-run eighth and Jose Tabata hit a two-run double off Carlos Martinez in a three-run ninth before Harrison flied out with two men on to end a game that lasted 3 hours and 47 minutes.
The Cardinals rebounded from a 2-5 trip in which they scored two or fewer runs five times, one of them against Burnett in a 7-1 loss Aug. 31. Burnett had been 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA in five starts against the Cardinals, but facing them in consecutive starts led to his fastest exit since he allowed 12 earned runs in 2 2-3 innings, including two homers and seven RBIs by Beltran, in a 12-3 loss May 2, 2012, also in St. Louis.
Carpenter tripled to open a three-run third and Jay, Matt Holliday and Beltran followed with RBI doubles for a 5-0 lead. The Cardinals started fast in the first with a walk and two singles the first four at-bats.
The first four hitters in the Cardinals order totaled 10 hits and eight RBIs.
Former University of Hawaii standout Kolten Wong went 0 for 1 as a pinch-hitter and a defensive replacement. His season average is .163.
REDS 3, DODGERS 2
CINCINNATI — Joey Votto emerged from his deep slump with a single and a two-run homer, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had another starting pitcher get hurt.
The NL West leaders lost Chris Capuano to a mild groin strain in the second inning, when he grimaced on a pitch to Zack Cozart. Already this week, the Dodgers had to push Hyun-Jin Ryu back from a scheduled start because of a sore back.
Mike Leake (12-6) emerged from his recent slump, helping the Reds get their fourth win in their last five games. Leake allowed five hits, including Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homer, in 7 2-3 innings.
Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the fourth day in a row, fanned three in the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.
Votto hit a two-run homer — his 22nd — off J.P. Howell (2-1) in the fifth inning for a 3-2 lead.
PHILLIES 2, BRAVES 1
PHILADELPHIA — Cody Asche hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, and Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee outdueled fellow left-hander Mike Minor.
Lee (12-6) allowed one run on Andrelton Simmons’ leadoff homer in the third while striking out 10 in eight innings. He gave up two hits and walked none.
Jonathan Papelbon finished for his 25th save in 31 chances.
Asche’s homer came on the first pitch he saw from Minor in the seventh. In his first time facing the Phillies this season, Minor (13-6) allowed four hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking one.
CUBS 8, BREWERS 5
CHICAGO — Rookie Junior Lake hit his first career grand slam in Chicago’s five-run first inning, leading the Cubs to the victory.
Lake was 2 for 4 and has five homers since being called up July 19.
The Cubs and Brewers are tied for fourth place in the NL Central at 60-80.
Carlos Villanueva (5-8) struck out five in 2 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win. Kevin Gregg got the final three outs for his 30th save in 35 chances.
Brewers starter Kyle Lohse (9-9) allowed 11 hits and seven runs in five innings. Scooter Gennett had a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the eighth for Milwaukee.
RED SOX 12, YANKS 8
NEW YORK — Mike Napoli hit a tying grand slam in the seventh, Shane Victorino had a go-ahead homer one inning later and the Boston Red Sox rallied past the New York Yankees 12-8 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Will Middlebrooks homered for the third straight day and Boston erased a five-run deficit in another wild game between these longtime rivals. One night earlier, the Yankees took an 8-7 lead with a six-run seventh — only to lose 9-8 in 10 innings on Victorino’s tiebreaking single.
New York has lost consecutive games when scoring at least eight runs for the first time since September 1949, according to STATS. The last time it happened with both games at home was 1911 against Cleveland.
Napoli also doubled, singled and walked twice in a perfect night at the plate. He scored three times, one night after sparking Boston’s ninth-inning comeback with a two-out single off Mariano Rivera.
The Red Sox, who began the day with a 6½-game lead in the AL East over Tampa Bay, have slowed New York’s wild-card charge by winning the first two games of a four-game set, improving to 9-5 against New York this year. They have scored 41 runs in their past three games and won 11 of 13 overall.
Alfonso Soriano homered and Brett Gardner hit a two-run triple for the Yankees, but Phil Hughes and Boone Logan failed to hold an 8-3 lead for Andy Pettitte. New York went hitless after the fifth inning.
Victorino connected for a two-run shot off Preston Claiborne (0-2) in the eighth. Joba Chamberlain walked in a run later in the inning, and Stephen Drew made it 12-8 with an RBI single.
Brandon Workman (5-2) threw 1 1-3 hitless innings for the win.
O’S 4, WHITE SOX 0
BALTIMORE — Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 48th home run, Scott Feldman pitched a five-hitter for his first career shutout and the Baltimore Orioles beat the White Sox 4-0 Friday night, extending Chicago’s losing streak to eight games.
Davis connected in the sixth inning off John Danks to move within two homers of tying Brady Anderson for the single-season club record. The solo shot gave Davis 123 RBIs, second-most in the majors behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (130).
Danny Valencia and Matt Wieters also homered for the Orioles, who began the day three games behind Tampa Bay for the final AL wild-card slot. All three long balls came off Danks (4-12).
Making his 11th start since he was acquired in a trade with the Cubs on July 2, Feldman (5-4) allowed only one runner past first base. The right-hander walked one and struck out three in improving to 5-2 lifetime against the White Sox.
TIGERS 16, ROYALS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Omar Infante set career highs with five hits and six RBIs, Andy Dirks also went 5 for 5 and Detroit pounded Kansas City.
Austin Jackson drove in four runs as the Tigers finished with a season-high 26 hits. Dirks, who is hitting .410 against Kansas City this season, scored four times.
Infante had run-producing singles in the second, fourth and seventh innings and a three-run double in the fifth. It was more than enough support for Anibal Sanchez (13-7), who allowed one run in seven innings while lowering his AL-best ERA to 2.61.
James Shields (10-9), who was 4-0 in his previous five starts, was charged with 10 runs and 14 hits in 3 2-3 innings in his shortest start of the season.
BLUE JAYS 6, TWINS 5
MINNEAPOLIS — R.A. Dickey pitched into the seventh inning for Toronto, and the Blue Jays hung on for a victory over Minnesota.
Dickey (12-12) won his third straight start, giving up seven hits and three runs to a Twins team he was a reliever for in 2009. He struck out four and walked one.
Jose Reyes reached base all four times and sparked a five-run second against Mike Pelfrey (5-11) with an RBI single. Brett Lawrie hit a two-run single and Moises Sierra followed with a two-run double in that inning.
Casey Janssen gave up a home run to rookie catcher Josmil Pinto in the ninth, but closed it out for his 28th save in 30 tries on a strikeout-caught stealing double play.
INDIANS 8, METS 1
CLEVELAND — Scott Kazmir struck out a season-high 12 in six innings, Nick Swisher hit a grand slam and Cleveland continued its playoff push with a win over New York.
Kazmir (8-7) struck out at least one batter in each inning, including the side in the first, third and sixth. The left-hander, who has been pushed back in the rotation for extra rest over the last month, held the Mets to four hits, allowed no walks and hit a batter in winning for the first time since Aug. 4.
Swisher’s grand slam came in the eighth and Carlos Santana added two RBIs.
Cleveland entered Friday three games out of the second wild-card spot. The Indians have won three of four on their homestand after losing ground in the playoff chase during a 3-6 road trip.
Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (7-4) allowed three runs in five innings and lost for the first time in his career on the road.