Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE
4 Total Updates since July 31, 2012
10 months ago Commentary 1 commentContinue
10 months ago Update 0 comments
A.J. Burnett did not pitch a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs, Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. Burnett's no-hit bid ended in the eighth inning when, after a pitch that could have been called strike three but wasn't, rookie pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas drove a fastball into right field for a clean single.
Burnett did pitch a one-hit shutout, the first one-hitter of his career and his first shutout since 2006. Burnett's victory pushed his Pirates' record to 59-44, tied with the Atlanta Braves for the third-best record in the National League.
Last year, Burnett pitched for the Yankees and finished with a 5.15 ERA; after the season, they were so sick of watching him pitch, they essentially gave the Pirates $13 million to take Burnett off their hands. This year, Burnett's 13-3 with a 3.27 earned-run average.
Last year, the Pirates lost 90 games and finished in fourth place. This year, the Pirates are almost a lock for their first winning season since 1992, and they're also a pretty good bet to earn a postseason berth for the first time since forever ago.
Yes, there is a connection between those last two paragraphs.
10 months ago Update 0 comments
Tuesday night in Chicago, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett came within four batters of throwing a no-hitter against the Cubs. But with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, rookie Adrian Cardenas laced a 3-and-2 fastball into right field for the Cubs' first hit of the game. That came right after a curveball that just missed the strike zone, and had Burnett questioning the umpire's judgment. For want of a strike ...
Burnett was bidding for the second no-hitter of his career, and remains in line for his 13th win this season. Not bad for a guy who was essentially discarded by the Yankees after a nettlesome 2011 campaign.
Before Cardenas's hit, Burnett had allowed three baserunners. Anthony Rizzo and David DeJesus drew two-out walks in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively. And in the eighth, Burnett's errant curveball struck Darwin Barney flush on the helmet; Barney left the game, replaced by pinch-runner Jeff Baker. That brought up Luis Valbuena. He struck out swinging, but not before Baker stole second.
Next up was Cardenas, just up from the minors and pinch-hitting for the pitcher. With Baker on third base and Cardenas on first, Burnett struck out DeJesus to end the inning, and the Pirates took a 5-0 lead into the ninth inning.
He was bidding to throw the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season, and the Pirates' first since John Candelaria no-hit the Dodgers in 1976.
10 months ago Update 2 comments
Burnett has walked X Cubs: Anthony Rizzo in the fourth inning and David DeJesus in the sixth, both with two outs. In the seventh, Burnett retired the Cubs in order: Rizzo grounded to shortstop; Alfonso Soriano drove a fly ball to deep left-center field, where Andrew McCutchen tracked it down and avoided a collision with rookie Starling Marte; and Bryan LaHair grounded out to first base.
The Pirates grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first inning when Neil Walker hit a grand slam off Casey Coleman, just recalled from the minors to fill Ryan Dempster's rotation slot. They added another in the top of the seventh when Walker's sacrifice fly to shallow center field was enough to plate Travis Snider from third base.
Burnett's thrown only 80 pitches through seven innings.
This wouldn't be Burnett's first no-hitter: in 2001, he no-hit the San Diego Padres despite issuing nine walks.