It seems that every time Pirates starter A.J. Burnett takes the mound this season it has been a must-win game. And more often than not Burnett has come through for the Pirates.
Saturday night’s 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers was no different.
Burnett pitched an impressive 6 2/3 innings, striking out nine while giving up two earned runs on two hits. Burnett gave up his first hit with two outs in the sixth.
However, Brewers starter Marco Estrada would match Burnett pitch for pitch. Estrada pitched seven innings, striking out 10. His only mistake was a second-inning home run by Pedro Alvarez.
Alvarez’s homer was his 27th of the season, after only hitting four all of last year. Alvarez has become the power hitter that Pirates fans were expecting when they drafted him second overall in 2008, not only with the long ball but by becoming a legitimate RBI man with his 71 driven in this season.
The Pirates would go into the eighth inning trailing 2-1, but Brock Holt worked a four-pitch walk in his first major league plate appearance. After being sacrificed to second, Holt scored on a two-out single by Andrew McCutchen.
The Pirates had plenty of chances to score runs as they left 12 men on base, leaving the bases loaded twice in the game. In the ninth inning Alex Presley struck out without getting the bat off his shoulder. After Presley struck out to end the inning, Brewers outfielder Corey Hart ended the game by hitting a home run on the second pitch Joel Hanrahan would throw.
The Pirates will look to avoid the sweep Sunday as they send James McDonald to the mound against Yovanni Gallardo.