A.J. Burnett turned in another excellent start tonight in front of a sold-out PNC Park. The offense wasn’t great, but they were patient enough to let the Marlins beat themselves, and took advantage of their mistakes.
The Bucs got some early run support for A.J. in the first when Garrett Jones drove in a run on an RBI-groundout. Miami got it right back, though, as Justin Ruggiano led off the second with an opposite field home run to tie it. That would be the only run Burnett gave up, as he went on to cruise from there.
In the fourth, Carlos Zambrano hit the first two batters. A.J. followed with a sac-bunt, which got thrown away to score a run and put runners on the corners. Alex Presley drew his second walk of the game, and Neil Walker made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly. Cutch walked to reload the bases, and Jones also walked, which scored a run. That knocked Big Z from the game, and he exited without much drama in the dugout afterwards. The first batter Chad Gaudin faced was Casey McGehee, and HE walked to plate a run. Eight men had now come to the plate, four runners scored, but the Pirates still didn’t have a hit or an official at-bat in the fourth. The next two batters went on to strike-out, but the damage was done as the Bucs were up 5-1.
Burnett was pretty locked in, scattering eight hits, while striking out three Marlins. He started the eighth with just under 100 pitches, but gave up a double to Jose Reyes and a single to Carlos Lee to get knocked from the game. He walked off the field after going 7.2 very strong innings to a standing ovation from the PNC Park crowd. Brad Lincoln came in, and finished off the last 1.1 innings to seal the victory and keep the winning streak alive.
Really a fun game to be at. Fairly calm crowd for a fireworks night, and the game was pretty entertaining. This team is so much fun to watch. They’ll go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.
Pirates (53-40) – Marlins (44-50)
Win: Burnett (11-3)
Loss: Zambrano (5-8)
Save: Lincoln (1)