PITTSBURGH -- Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett notched career strikeout No. 2,000 on Wednesday night at PNC Park.
The historic punchout occurred in the top of the second inning, when Cards outfielder Carlos Beltran was called out on strikes.
Burnett entered the game averaging a Major League-leading 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings. His 27 strikeouts in his first three starts were the most by a Pirates pitcher to begin a season since Jose Deleon whiffed 28 in 1985.
Burnett ranks fourth among all active pitchers in strikeouts, trailing only the Yankees' Andy Pettitte (2,327) and CC Sabathia (2,232), and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (2,080).
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.