ST. LOUIS (AP) - Russell Martin wanted a better fate for his starting pitcher and helped deliver a happier ending.
The Pittsburgh Pirates catcher hit a two-run home run to highlight a four-run seventh inning and the Pirates rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 on Saturday. The comeback gave A.J. Burnett (2-2) his second victory against St. Louis in 10 days.
"It was great, man. I was really happy about that," said Martin, who went 2-for-4 with a double. "A.J.'s been pitching his butt off all year and he hasn't had too many wins under his belt and he should. It seemed like it was going to go like kind of how it's been but we were able to muster up some wins and find a way to do it for him.
Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez handles a grounder hit by St. Louis’ Allen Craig for an out during the first inning.
"It's definitely gratifying. It feels great."
Burnett gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. His six strikeouts expanded his team record for the month of April to a league-leading 48. Burnett threw seven shutout innings in a 5-0 victory against St. Louis on April 17.
He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in his six starts this season, giving up three just twice. The Pirates haven't backed him at the plate, however, providing him an average of 2.33 runs.
Burnett used 111 pitches earning an exit earlier than he wanted but he was pleased with his results and the victory.
"It feels good just because the fact that these guys keep going," he said. "Russ started us off with the homer. We're never out of it. We're never down. There's no negative thoughts.
"As a starter, I'm going to try to keep doing that until (manager) Clint (Hurdle) takes me out."
St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook left after six innings with a 2-0 lead in search of his 100th career victory. He struck out a season-high six and scattered six hits to lower his ERA to 0.98 in five starts.
The Pirates had three consecutive hits against reliever Joe Kelly (0-1) to lead off the seventh and were aided by a hit by pitch and a walk to score four runs. Martin's fifth homer of the season drove in Pedro Alvarez to tie the score at 2, Andrew McCutchen walked with the bases loaded and Garrett Jones grounded in Starling Marte.
"They just couldn't get it done," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of his bullpen. "Any time you lose a game in the last third, it can be extremely frustrating. When the starter gives you a great chance like that, you hate to see it slip away."
The Pirates added their fifth run on a double by Martin and a sacrifice fly from Gaby Sanchez. Martin has a hit in 10 of his past 11 games.
Pittsburgh had scored just one run in the first 15 innings of the series before their four-run outburst. The beleaguered St. Louis Cardinals bullpen had its ERA balloon to 5.62. The Cardinals have given up 39 runs after the sixth inning this season.
Jason Grilli surrendered his first run of the season on an RBI double from Carlos Beltran in the ninth but earned his 10th save in 10 tries.
Nationals 6, Reds 3
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bryce Harper homered and singled, Dan Haren had his best start of the young season and Washington beat the Cincinnati.
Denard Span and Jayson Werth each had two hits for Washington, which has won the first three games of the four-game set.
Haren (2-3) didn't quite match Jordan Zimmermann's one-hitter and Gio Gonzalez's impressive eight innings of one-hit ball the previous two games, but he was sharp enough. Haren allowed two runs and six hits over six innings, lowering his ERA from 7.36 to 6.29.
Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.
Brandon Phillips had three singles and Shin-Soo Choo homered for Cincinnati, which has lost four of five.
Phillies 9, Mets 4
NEW YORK (AP) - Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. hit consecutive home runs to break open a close game and the Phillies beat the Mets, sending Jonathan Pettibone to his first major league victory.
Ryan Howard knocked in two runs, Jimmy Rollins scored twice and Michael Young had three hits - two that never left the infield - for the second straight day. Pettibone (1-0) pitched his way out of an important jam to help Philadelphia improve to 4-1 against the Mets after losing the season series last year.
Shaun Marcum (0-1) went four innings in his Mets debut after beginning the season on the disabled list with a neck injury and right biceps tendinitis. John Buck hit his eighth homer in the ninth, way too late to prevent New York from dropping to 3-5 on a nine-game homestand with its third straight defeat.