PITTSBURGH -- Batting practice officially ended 50 minutes before game time -- the same as usual -- on Monday night at PNC Park.
However, the St. Louis Cardinals made it seem like BP was extended through the first three innings as they scored 10 runs and coasted to a 10-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
You can't beat that," winning pitcher Lance Lynn said. "The way the offense performed tonight, that's awesome."
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 base running 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 that knocked out Pittsburgh starter James McDonald (1-2).
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 for the Cardinals. Holliday had two hits, including a two-run double, Allen Craig drove in three runs and Yadier Molina, the only NL catcher to start each of his team's games this season, had two hits.
"We have a lot of hitters who like to be in that position with runners in scoring position and I think that's where it starts," Craig said. "I feel like we take our best at-bats when guys are out there and that's a good quality to have.
"It's just a matter of taking good at-bats; I think we really feed off each other. When one guy has a good at-bat and hits a ball hard I think the next guy, it boosts his confidence and it goes from there."
Pittsburgh held a 12-10 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.
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.
"I've got to be better," Lynn said. "I got into a situation where I was just trying to attack them with heaters and I got myself into trouble and got my pitch count up. I would have loved to have gone deeper in the game, especially with that kind of run support and give our bullpen a couple less innings and I wasn't able to do it."
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.
"We battled back and we got the tying run on deck in the eighth inning and made them use their closer in the ninth," Pirates manager lint Hurdle said. "We didn't give up on the game."
McDonald was tagged for eight runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in 1 2/3 innings with two walks and no strikeouts. He entered the game with a 4-1 career record and 2.27 ERA against St. Louis.
"I left a lot of pitches up in the zone and out over the plate and a team with good hitters like (the Cardinals) have are going to crush those pitches," McDonald said.
McDonald's fastball velocity has been down throughout his first three starts this season and there is speculation he might be hurt. He only added to that speculation by declining to answer when a reporter asked if he were injured.
"I didn't think I was going to get any questions like that, I thought I was going to get questions about the game," McDonald said. "I'd rather answer questions about the game."
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 runs, 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 Triple-A 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.