PITTSBURGH -- The St. Louis Cardinals wasted little time turning this game into a laugher.
The Cardinals scored 10 runs in the first three innings Monday night, then coasted to a 10-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The National League Central-leading Cardinals won for the fifth time in six games. The Pirates had their three-game winning streak halted and lost for the just the second time in their last seven games.
Despite making a baserunning blunder in the first that cost the Cardinals a potential big inning, Jon Jay led the way with three runs scored, two hits and a two-run double that keyed a seven-run second inning.
After Jay and Matt Carpenter had back-to-back singles to lead off the game, Jay held up between second and third base when Matt Holliday hit a drive high off the wall in right field. Holliday wound up being thrown out between first and second base and the Cardinals scored only one run in the inning.
Jay's mistake was just a small speed bump, though, for the Cardinals. Holliday had two hits, including a two-run double, Allen Craig drove in three runs and Yadier Molina, the only National League catcher to start each of his team's games this season, had two hits.
Pittsburgh held an 11-10 edge in hits but could not overcome the early nine-run deficit. Starling Marte had three hits to extend his hitting streak to nine games - eight of which have been multi-hit games - and Neil Walker hit a two-run home run.
The Pirates got within 10-6 in the eighth when Michael McKenry and Marte hit run-scoring singles off Marc Rzepczynski, who bounced back to get Andrew McCutchen to hit an inning-ending groundout.
Lance Lynn (2-0) benefited from the early offensive outburst as he made it through five shaky innings, allowing four runs and seven hits while walking three and striking four.
Mitchell Boggs pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. The Cardinals closer has blown two of four save opportunities and entered the game with an 11.37 ERA.
James McDonald (1-2) was knocked out during St. Louis' big second inning. He was tagged for eight runs - three earned --- and eight hits in 1 2/3 innings with two walks and no strikeouts.
The Cardinals had a big second inning to jump on top 8-1, scoring all their runs with two outs after David Freese walked and took third on Pete Kozma's double.
Jay lined a two-run double to right to break the tie. Carpenter then walked and Holliday reached first on shortstop Clint Barmes' throwing error, enabling Jay to score.
A two-run double by Craig made it 6-1, then Carlos Beltran hit an RBI single and Molina doubled in a run. Down by seven, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle gave McDonald the hook.
St. Louis extended the lead to 10-1 when Holliday hit a two-run double off Justin Wilson in the third.
The Pirates scored three runs off Lynn in the bottom of the third. McCutchen doubled in a run and scored on Walker's first home run of the season, a two-run blast.
NOTES: Pittsburgh recalled outfielder Alex Presley from Class AAA Indianapolis before the game to give them a left-handed hitter on what had been an all-right-handed bench. Presley hit .357 with one home run and two RBIs in six games. Right-handed pitcher Phil Irwin was optioned to Indianapolis a day after making his major-league debut and getting a no-decision against Cincinnati when he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings. ... Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano (broken upper right arm) pitched three perfect innings and struck out six Monday night for high Class A Bradenton against Jupiter in a Florida State League game in his first start on an injury rehabilitation assignment. ... Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he would consider using Edward Mujica in save situations if Boggs continues to struggle in that role ... St. Louis right-hander Jake Westbrook (1-0, 0.00) will face Pittsburgh left-hander Jonathan Sanchez (0-2, 12.96) on Tuesday night. Westbrook is 0-5 with a 5.96 ERA at PNC Park in nine career games.