- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A.J. Burnett refused to blame the Pirates’ hitters for his hard luck this season.

The veteran right-hander allowed just two hits over six shutout innings in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in 10 innings Friday night.

The Pirates have totaled five runs in Burnett’s five starts covering 31 innings. But he would not use the lack of offensive support as an excuse.

“I need to start going deeper into games,” he said. “Six (innings) is all right. But I need to mix some sevens and eights in there and go a little farther.”

Burnett has allowed no more than two runs in all five starts, including a string of one run or zero in his last four. But he has little to show for his efforts with an 0-1 record and a 1.45 ERA.

He retired his first nine batters on 40 pitches Friday.

“I’ve pitched against these guys for a long time and it’s always a battle,” he said. “Going against them almost makes you want to turn it up.”

The night was not a total loss for Burnett, who passed Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax for 42nd place on the career strikeout list with 2,397.

“It just means I’m old,” Burnett joked. “Really, to be able to do it at this age means a lot.”

Matt Adams hit a bases-loaded single with two outs in the 10th to give the Cardinals their fourth win a row. They have won 14 of their last 17 at home against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates fell to 4-3 on their nine-game road trip.

Jon Jay started the winning rally with a two-out single off Rob Scahill (0-2). Matt Carpenter followed with a double down the left-field line and Matt Holliday was intentionally walked, which came as a shock to Adams.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was sure they would pitch to him,” he said. “When they didn’t, I was ready to hit.”

Adams laced a 1-1 pitch to left field for his second career walk-off hit.

“We needed something to happen and he made it happen,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “Guys like him, they want to be up in that situation. He’s been taking some real good at-bats. That was a nice, short swing.”

Scahill threw a sinker, down and away. Adams was ready.

“It was a good pitch. I would throw it again,” Scahill said. “He’s a good hitter. He just slapped it down the line. There was nothing I could do.”

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle defended the decision to walk Holliday, who was 3 for 3 lifetime against Scahill. Adams had never faced the right-handed reliever.

“We thought we’d take a shot with a guy who hadn’t seen him,” Hurdle said. “It didn’t work.”

Randy Choate (1-0) struck out Gregory Polanco with two on for the win.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn gave up one run on four hits and struck out 10 in seven innings.

“I like where I was at tonight,” Lynn said. “They’re a good-hitting team, they’ve got guys who know what they’re doing. That’s the beauty of baseball: It’s you versus them and sometimes you’re better.”

St. Louis tied the game on a two-out, bases-loaded infield single by pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds in the seventh. Pittsburgh reliever Tony Watson then got Jay to ground out.

Burnett drove in his first run since June 20 last year with a single up the middle against a drawn-in infield in the sixth for a 1-0 lead. Francisco Cervelli led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a first-pitch double by Jordy Mercer.

Following Burnett’s 15th career RBI, Polanco drew a walk to load the bases. Lynn then retired Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker to prevent any more damage.

St. Louis outfielder Jason Heyward threw out Sean Rodriguez trying to stretch a single in the eighth inning.

McCutchen appeared to limp off the field after breaking up a double play in the ninth. He remained in the game, and Hurdle expects him to play Saturday.

NO ROUND-TRIPPERS

The Pirates have not given up a home run in their last nine games, the team’s longest streak since going 10 games without yielding a homer in May 1991.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Charlie Morton, recovering from labrum surgery, will throw 60-70 pitches in a simulated game Saturday in Bradenton, Florida. He could join the team in time for its six-game homestand beginning Tuesday.

Cardinals: OF Tommy Phan was transferred to the 60-day disabled list with a left quadriceps injury, and RHP Miguel Socolovich was called up from Triple-A Memphis.

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (1-1, 2.22 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season in the middle game of the series Saturday afternoon. He threw 6 1-3 innings and allowed just two hits in an 8-0 win at Arizona on Sunday.

Cardinals: RHP John Lackey (1-1, 4.21) will be making his 360th career appearance Saturday. He gave up three runs on nine hits over seven innings in a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia on Monday.

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