Andrew McCutchen, A.J. Burnett Help Pirates to Series Sweep of Royals


Get the brooms out.

Behind a solid outing from A.J. Burnett and some timely early hitting from Andrew McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates finished the sweep of the Kansas City Royals, winning their fifth consecutive game, by holding on to defeat the Royals 3-2 Sunday afternoon.

Burnett was fantastic, not allowing a hit until the sixth inning. He pitched into the seventh, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out six and delivered the type of start the Pirates needed from a top of the rotation guy to keep their current streak going. In addition, Burnett continued to pitch well at PNC Park as his ERA dipped to 1.02 at home on the season.

No team in baseball has won more games since May 25 than the Pirates, a span in which they’ve gone 12-3.

Andrew McCutchen got the Bucs off to a good start early in the first, when he drove in Alex Presley with a double to right-center to put the Pirates up 1-0.

Cutch then hit his 11th bomb of the season in the third, a two-run shot that gave the Pirates a three-run cushion. That would be all Burnett needed on the afternoon and that’s a good thing because the Pirates got only five hits as a team.

But like they have through much of the first 59 games of the season, Clint Hurdle’s club found a way to win.

Tony Watson, Juan Cruz and Jason Grilli finished off the final 2.2 innings and although the pen was shaky for a change, they got outs when they needed to. Grilli recorded his first save of the season, as regular closer Joel Hanrahan was given the day off after pitching in three consecutive games prior to Sunday.

With the win, the Bucs move to a season-high five games over .500 and pull to within a half-game of the division leading Cincinnati Reds, who play Sunday night against the Detroit Tigers.

Winning Pitcher: Burnett (6-2)

Losing Pitcher: Bruce Chen (5-6)

Save: Grilli (1)

Home Runs: McCutchen (11)

Player of the Game: McCutchen 2-3, double, homer, walk, stolen base (11), 3 RBI

Box Score:

Up Next: Tuesday, June 12 at Baltimore Orioles

Probable Starters: Brad Lincoln (3-1, 2.40) vs. Wi-Yin Chen (5-2, 3.49)