Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 10/15/14
The Braves blasted their way past the Bucs to take game one of this week’s series in Atlanta, as A.J. Burnett suffered through his worst start of the season. It was clear early on that Burnett wasn’t happy with home plate ump Dan Iassogna’s strike zone (it definitely did appear to be tight), and he walked three hitters in the first four innings. The third walk was to Freddie Freeman, leading off the fourth. Brian McCann was up next and worked a long at bat, getting the benefit of a few close calls. AJ ended up feeding him a 3-2 fastball right down the middle and he crushed it for a 2-run homer. Later in the inning, Burnett and Russell Martin were showing more displeasure with Iassogna’s zone, and when two good pitches to pitcher Kris Medlen were called balls, Martin was…not pleased, and muttered some…words as he walked toward the mound: What did Russell Martin say that got him tossed from the game? “[Expletive] me.” — Michael Sanserino (@msanserino) June 4, 2013 #Pirates Martin: “If you know me, you know how I talk. I say F-word often. It’s just the way I express myself. (Ump) didn’t like it.” — Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) June 4, 2013 GIF via @CorkGaines That’s a fairly ridiculous ejection, as you can clearly see that Martin wasn’t even speaking or motioning to the ump. Clint Hurdle came out and was tossed as well. Things got worse for Burnett, as the Braves crushed two more two-run homers against him after that. You have to wonder if the tight zone was maybe forcing him to pitch more towards the middle of the plate, but regardless it was clear he was not at his best tonight. He lasted just five innings – not what the Bucs were looking for. The offense (as usual when Burnett starts) stalled. They did give AJ a 1-0 lead early on when Gaby Sanchez doubled a run home in the third, but they left a handful of runners in scoring position early on against Medlen and mostly failed to cash in. Medlen eventually settled in once he had a lead and cruised through seven. The Bucs didn’t threaten much the rest of the way until they  tacked on a meaningless run in the ninth. Jared Hughes – fresh from his call up – tossed a clean sixth, but Mike Zagurski had another brutal outing and walked three in the seventh while getting just two outs. Ryan Reid came in to clean up the mess after one run came in, and did a nice job in his major league debut. That was the only nice moment for the Bucs, aside from taking a brief 1-0 lead. Braves 7, Pirates 2 / Box / 2013 Record: 35-23 / Next: Tuesday, at Braves, 7:10 Source: FanGraphs
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