Cardinals score seven runs in third inning to chase A.J. Burnett early in Game 1 of NLDS

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The Cardinals have stormed out to an early lead over the Pirates in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett completely melted down in the bottom of the third inning, giving up seven runs before being pulled from the ballgame. He failed to record an out in the nightmare frame.

The ugly inning started with a leadoff walk to Adam Wainwright and a single from Matt Carpenter, which set up a long three-run homer from Carlos Beltran which landed in the second deck inside the right field foul pole. Burnett then gave up a double to Matt Holliday and hit Matt Adams with a pitch before walking Yadier Molina and Jon Jay to force in a run. David Freese followed with a single down the right field line to score two more runs while a third run scored on a throwing error by Marlon Byrd. That was enough for Clint Hurdle to finally bring the hook.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the seven runs scored by the Cardinals are an NLDS record for an inning. It might be time to start thinking ahead to Game 2.

As for Beltran, his postseason excellence continues. He now has 15 home runs in 153 plate appearances in the postseason, tying him with Babe Ruth for eighth all-time. As our own Matthew Pouliot points out, his 1.275 OPS is the best all-time among players with at least 100 plate appearances. You can watch the video of his third-inning blast below:

Meanwhile, Wainwright has been brilliant on the mound for the Cardinals. He has sat down all nine batters he has faced while striking out three. The Cardinals lead it 7-0 as we move to the top of the fourth inning.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: