ST. LOUIS -- The RBI single through a hole on the left side of the infield was hardly one of the more impressive hits during Carlos Beltran's 15-year career. It was, however, among the most momentous.

The hit, which came in the third inning of the Cardinals' eventual 14-5 loss to the Pirates on Friday, was the 2,000th in Beltran's career. Beltran, who was playing in his 1,842nd career game, is the 29th switch-hitter to reach that benchmark.

"I just have to thank God for making it happen, keeping me in this game long enough to accomplish something like that," Beltran said. "I'm grateful for that and thankful for the opportunity he has given me to play this game at a high level."

A capacity crowd at Busch Stadium acknowledged the achievement with a standing ovation. Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones also came over to offer congratulations to the longtime outfielder. Beltran twice tipped his helmet in appreciation.

That was the best way, Beltran said, he knew how to recognize such a response.

"I have to say that I don't know how to approach or embrace milestones like that," he said. "I don't show a lot of emotions, but inside my heart, God knows that I'm happy and I'm pleased with everything that I have done in this game."

Only 83 of Beltran's 2,000 hits have come as a Cardinal. He amassed the most (899) with his first club, the Royals, before collecting another 878 over eight seasons with the Mets. He also had 54 with Giants (2011) and 86 with the Astros (2004).

In terms of individual seasons, Beltran's most successful was in 1999, when he tallied 194 hits. He was named the American League's Rookie of the Year that season.

"Carlos has been fantastic all season for us, doing everything right," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's a great honor. It was great to happen here at home."

Beltran was presented with the ball he hit for No. 2,000 and said that he plans to display it along with the bat he used and the jersey he wore on Friday.

Beltran is nearing a pair of additional milestones, as well. He is one double shy of 400 and needs one more home run to have 200 in the National League.

And then there's this: By driving in a run with his 2,000th hit, Beltran has recorded an RBI in a team-record seven consecutive games.