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.