Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 6/8/13
The Pirates finally scored some runs for A.J. Burnett on Saturday, but he didn’t need many in one of his best performances of the season. A.J. only struck out five and benefited from a few sharply hit outs, but he was remarkably efficient and gave the Pirates exactly what they’ve been looking for – an outing deep in to the game. Before today, no Pirate starter had even started the eighth inning all year. That’s pretty astounding, but Burnett finally put an end to that thanks to a pitch count below 100 through seven. He breezed through the eighth and even batted in the top of the ninth, going for a complete game shutout. Unfortunately, with one out the Cubs notched a single and two run homer against him, so Tony Watson had to get the last two outs. Burnett was clearly very angry he couldn’t finish the job, despite the fact the Bucs were well ahead and he had pitched brilliantly all day. It’s a shame he couldn’t get the shutout, but a win and a virtual day off for the bullpen will certainly suffice. AJ is the man. And he got some run support…off Jeff Samardzija! Pedro Alvarez had a big day. He started by putting the Bucs on the board with a nice two out single in the second, then blasted a mammoth homer out of Wrigley in the fourth. He also had a solid afternoon on defense at third. Starling Marte hit the ball hard several times for the first time in a while, and Russell Martin homered for the first time in a month. It was great to see the Pirates constantly hitting the ball well for the first time in several days. After a win mostly thanks to the pitching on Friday, this was a much more complete victory in which the Pirates looked very good. Even though a bad week against tough teams shouldn’t be a huge concern, it was certainly refreshing to see. They’ll go for another sweep of the Cubs tomorrow. Pirates 6, Cubs 2 / Box / 2013 Record: 37-25 / Next: Sunday, at Cubs, 2:20 Source: FanGraphs
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