Originally posted on WHYGAVS?  |  Last updated 4/21/12

The first three batters AJ Burnett faced as a Pirate were awfully never-wracking; Burnett began his Pirate career tonight with a walk, a single, and a second walk to load the bases up with nobody out. Given his struggles in his rehab starts and the way that he was called up with seemingly no notice instead of making a rehab start tonight, it sure seemed like Burnett just wasn't quite ready to face big league hitters tonight. 

And just when that conclusion seemed inevitable, Burnett bore down. He struck out Carlos Beltran with a nasty breaking pitch, blew a fastball past David Freese, and then got a little lucky when Clint Barmes made a jumping snag of a Yadier Molina line drive. From there, Burnett cruised. He racked up five more strikeouts, didn't walk another batter, and only gave up two more hits. He got a bunch of ground balls, recording eight groundouts to go with his two flyouts. He only needed 76 pitches to get through his seven innings and he threw 53 of them for strikes. The only disappointing part of the whole thing was probably that Clint Hurdle yanked him after seven innings, when he clearly had at least another inning in him.

The Pirates' offense wasn't all that impressive, but they managed to score twice tonight on Pedro Alvarez singles bringing Andrew McCutchen home. One of Pedro's singles was an infield hit, but both came after solid at-bats and he added in a very deep flyout against lefty Mark Rzepczynski in the eighth inning to make tonight one of his better performances at the plate all year.

All told, it was a solid win for the Bucs, if only because Burnett and Alvarez performed so well. The offense was lacking again, but it was an encouraging win nonetheless. 

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