Pirates 8, Padres 1
Until Tuesday night, the only time A.J. Burnett had beaten the
San Diego Padres was on May 12, 2001, when he threw a no-hitter
against them while with the Marlins.
”Was that the only time? There you go. You walk nine, you beat
them every time,” Burnett joked Tuesday night.
Twelve years after that erratic gem, Burnett pitched seven
strong innings against the Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates had
six extra-base hits, including Neil Walker’s home run, to beat San
Diego 8-1 Tuesday night.
”I had guys diving left and right behind me today and they were
swinging the bat,” said Burnett, who is now 2-5 against San Diego.
”It’s just fun to see everybody in this room contribute to what’s
going on right now. I’m glad I was part of it tonight.”
Burnett (6-8) held San Diego to one run and four hits, struck
out seven and walked one. He bounced back from two starts in which
he allowed 10 earned runs and 16 hits in 10 innings.
The Pirates opened a two-game lead in the NL Central over St.
Louis, which lost 6-3 at Milwaukee.
The Padres loaded the bases with two outs in the third before
Burnett struck out Yonder Alonso.
”His sixth inning was as good as any he had all night, pitching
to the middle of the lineup,” manager Clint Hurdle said. ”So we
decided when he came in 3-1, he was going back out. He had pitches
to work with. He was able to reboot tonight. He used all his
pitches. Very good outing for him.”
Burnett was backed by some nice defense. Left fielder Jose
Tabata made a diving catch of Alexi Amarista’s sinking liner in the
first. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez made a diving stop of Nick
Hundley’s grounder in the second and Walker, the second baseman,
made a diving stop of Jaff Decker’s grounder in the third.
Walker homered into the sandy play area beyond the fence in
right-center on a 3-1 pitch from Tyson Ross with one out in the
first. It was his eighth. Alvarez reached on second baseman Jedd
Gyorko’s throwing error and Russell Martin followed with an RBI
double to right.
Alvarez tripled in the third to bring in Walker, who was hit by
a pitch leading off the inning.
Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run triple in the seventh. His fly
ball landed just in front of diving center fielder Alexi Amarista
and rolled into the gap in right-center. After Alvarez and Russell
Martin walked, pinch-hitter Josh Harrison tripled to right-center
to clear the bases and cap the five-run inning.
”All our hits were to the big part of the field,” Hurdle said.
”Couple balls were pulled to the gap. Everything else, big part of
the field, opposite. That was big for us tonight. Something we’ve
been talking about, something we’ve been working on. We were able
to put it in play tonight.”
The Padres have lost 10 of 14 and tied their season high by
dropping 17 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles
Gyorko homered to left on a 1-2 pitch from Burnett leading off
the fourth, his 14th.
”I was able to get to him the one time but he did a good job of
mixing his pitches,” Gyorko said. ”Sometimes you don’t always get
the read you want to on the ball.”
Ross (3-6) allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits in 6 1-3
innings, struck out six and walked two.
”It was a tough game. It was a bit of a struggle executing
pitches early,” Ross said. ”But I did my best to keep the team in
it. But Burnett did a good job.”
NOTES: The Pirates hit three triples for the third time this
season. … The series concludes Wednesday afternoon when Pirates
RHP Gerrit Cole (6-5, 3.88 ERA) is scheduled to face RHP Ian
Kennedy (4-9, 5.12 ERA). …. Pirates closer Jason Grilli, on the
disabled list since July 23 with a strained right forearm, is
improving, although there is no timetable for his return. ”Jason
is moving forward at a very good fashion,” manager Clint Hurdle
said. … OF Starling Marte didn’t start for the second straight
game because of a bruise on his right hand. He was stepped on
during a head-first slide against the Arizona Diamondbacks. … LHP
Wandy Rodriguez will throw live batting practice Thursday before
the Pirates begin a four-game series in San Francisco. Rodriguez
said he continued to feel discomfort in his left arm after a
bullpen session Monday. He went on the disabled list June 11
(retroactive to June 6) with left forearm tightness.