On paper, the pitching matchup for Game 1 of the NLDS between the Pittsburgh Pirates A.J. Burnett and the St. Louis Cardinals Adam Wainwright should have made for an excellent pitching duel.
It probably would have been if both pitchers would have shown up.
Burnett was all over the place with his command early and often and was shelled, allowing seven third inning runs as the Pirates dropped the opening game of the series 9-1.
The Pirates right-hander missed badly on both sides of the plate right out of the gate. He had to throw a lot of pitches to get through the first inning and found a way to get a double play ball to get out of a second inning jam.
However everything unraveled in the third.
Burnett got himself into trouble by walking his mound opponent Wainwright and then fell behind Matt Carpenter, who singled to right. Up next was Carlos Beltran, who has owned Burnett throughout his career. He fell behind Beltran and then was forced to groove a fastball that Beltran destroyed for a three-run homer.
The problems didn’t end there for Burnett.
Instead of regrouping and limiting the damage, Burnett kept pouring gasoline on the fire.
After a Matt Holliday double, Burnett hit Matt Adams with a pitch, before walking both Yadier Molina and John Jay to make it a 4-0 game. For some reason Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle left Burnett out there and David Freese made him pay by lining a single to right that scored a pair of runs. A throwing error by Marlon Byrd on the play allowed a third run to score to make it a 7-0 game.
That was it for Burnett, who didn’t get an out in the third inning. Before it was all said and done, Burnett allowed the seven earned runs on six hits, walking four and hitting one in just over two-plus innings.
While Burnett struggled mightily, Wainwright pitched like an ace.
He had pinpoint control from the outset, striking out nine in seven innings of work. Wainwright allowed only three hits on the night, one of which was a solo home run from Pedro Alvarez in the fifth.
The Bucs were outhit 10-4 on the night and were sloppy defensively, committing three errors.
The Pirates will look to even the series up tomorrow afternoon when rookie Gerrit Cole gets the call. He is scheduled to oppose the Cardinals Lance Lynn. First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. EST from Busch Stadium.