A.J. Burnett turned to look at Carlos Beltran, who was standing on second base in the seventh inning Wednesday night at PNC Park.

"I'm like, 'You can't swing and miss on one more for me?' " Burnett asked.

Most of the St. Louis Cardinals did in a 5-0 Pirates win.

Burnett held the Cardinals hitless through 6 2/3 innings until Beltran doubled to right-center field to disrupt his bid for a no-hitter. Burnett (1-2) pitched seven scoreless innings without a walk and struck out eight.

"By the fourth and fifth, you look up and you notice it," Burnett said. "I had a good hook and I threw some balls in[side] that I don't normally throw in, and I caught them off guard."

In Burnett's third start in 2012, the Cardinals torched him for 12 runs on 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings. He remembered.

"I remember what they did last year, and that fired me up to go against them [Wednesday night]," he said. "Not to mention they're a pretty good lineup so that always brings it out in you."

Burnett struck out his 2,000th career batter in the second inning when Beltran watched a 93 mph fastball go past him for a called strike three. Neil Walker had the Pirates infielders run to the mound to issue Burnett a quick congratulations. Among active pitchers, only Andy Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia and Roy Halladay have more career strikeouts.

"You've got to have skills, you got to have stuff, you got to have dependability and you've got to go to the post for a long time," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "If you're just a thrower, you don't get 2,000 strikeouts."

Burnett struck out four of the first nine batters he faced. He entered the game tied for the National League lead in strikeouts with 27 and has 35 through 24 innings.

"The breaking ball has been really, really sharp and late, and I think that as much as anything is probably a reason for the strikeouts," Hurdle said.

Burnett remained perfect through five with some help from Travis Snider. Yadier Molina drove a hard liner to right in the fifth, but Snider ran in and made a diving catch.

"Yadi goes the other way pretty well and hit it right at me," Snider said. "A low liner, one of those you want to make sure you get a good break on and beat the ball to the ground, obviously."