Pittsburgh, PA – The St. Louis Cardinals had lost seven straight contests, and this week blew their lead in the NL Central.
They took out their frustrations on the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday night.
Joe Kelly threw six shutout innings and the Cardinals got two RBI from Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Tony Cruz in a 13-0 rout at PNC Park.
The Cardinals, who pounded out 17 hits and scored eight times in the seventh inning, won for the first time on this road trip, which will conclude with a three-game set at Cincinnati.
"It's definitely a change in attitude and a change in atmosphere and a good way to leave here," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Kelly (2-3) allowed three hits and also went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored a run.
The Pirates were limited to five hits, two of them coming from Starling Marte. Despite their only loss in this five-game set, the Pirates will head into Friday with a 1 1/2 game lead in the division.
"We held a team in the bag for four days and the cat got out tonight," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Charlie Morton (3-3) surrendered 10 hits and five runs over six frames. He has gone 0-5 in his last six starts against the Cardinals.
Singles from Jay and Cruz put runners at the corners with two outs in the second. Morton then uncorked a wild pitch and was late covering the plate, allowing Jay to come home with the first run.
Morton struck out to leave the bases full in the bottom portion, and the Cardinals scored three times in the fourth. Jay was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Holliday then Matt Holliday scored on Cruz's double-play groundout. Pete Kozma followed with an RBI base hit to center.
St. Louis couldn't score after the loaded the bases in the fifth and Neil Walker grounded out with two men in scoring position in the bottom of the frame.
Carlos Beltran made it 5-0 in the sixth with an RBI double, which scored Kelly.
The Cardinals shelled Jeanmar Gomez in the eighth. The right-hander was pounded for seven runs -- five earned -- on four hits and a pair of walks.
Jay singled in a run and Cruz doubled to the left field corner to drive in two for an 8-0 margin. Matt Carpenter lifted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right.
Vic Black entered with the bases full again and Craig doubled to left for two RBI. Holliday's run-scoring groundout and Freese's RBI double capped the huge inning.
Holliday went 10-for-19 in the series ... Cruz had three hits ... Morton fell to 2-8 lifetime against the Cardinals ... The last time the Cardinals were swept in a five-game set came when they lost a six-games series September 23-27, 1916 by the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. They haven't lost eight a row since Sept. 7-15, 2007, a nine-game skid ... Pittsburgh's last five-game sweep came against the San Francisco Giants in September of 1996.