PIRATES 5 – CUBS 0
With the starting rotation faltering of late, the Pirates needed a big start from A.J. Burnett (13-3, 3.27 ERA) tonight and he was sensational, throwing a 1-hit complete game shutout gem in the Pirates (59-44) 5-0 win over the Chicago Cubs (43-59) on Tuesday night.
Burnett took a no-hitter into the 8th inning and lost the no hitter with 2 outs in the 8th when Adrian Cardenas singled to right on a 3-2 count. It will go down as a controversial at-bat as umpire Jeff Nelson didn’t give Burnett two close pitches that just missed the corner, especially the 2-2 pitch prior to Cardenas hitting the single with the 3-2 count. Burnett would go out and throw a 1-2-3 innings in the ninth to close out the game.
Burnett had it going from the start, retiring the first 11 batters and the first 17 of 18 batters he faced. Burnett struck out 8 and walked 2, allowing 1 hit in the victory.
What made Burnett’s performance masterful was the great location he had all night, rarely having pitches hanging over the middle of the plate, and he dominated, improving to 13-3 on the season. His breaking ball down and in was extremely dangerous tonight. It was Burnett’s first shutout since June 27, 2006.
AROUND THE BASES
— Neil Walker (.291- 11 HR – 55 RBI) hit a grand slam in the 1st inning, and drove in all 5 runs, adding a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Walker was 1-3 with HR, 5 RBIs in the win. Walker had an excellent July, batting .358 with 7 home runs and 21 RBIs.
— Garrett Jones (.266 – 16 HR – 49 RBI) had a great at-bat loading the bases in the first after walking on 8 pitches. Jones battled after getting into a 1-2 count.
— Travis Snider (.250 – 3 HR – 8 RBI) made his Pirates debut, batting 2nd, going 1-4 with 2 runs scored and a walk. Snider hit an infield single in the top of the 1st.
— Andrew McCutchen (.371 – 22 HR – 66 RBI) went 3-5 with a double, 2 singles, and a run scored and his batting average has barely moved of late. McCutchen’s batting average has been .366 or better since July 14th. It’s now at .371 and he hit .437 in the month of July.
1. Cincinnati Reds (62-41)
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (59-44, 3 GB)
3. St. Louis Cardinals (54-48, 7.5 GB)
4. Milwaukee Brewers (47-56, 15 GB)
5. Chicago Cubs (43-59, 18.5 GB)
6. Houston Astros (35-70, 28 GB)