The Pittsburgh Pirates snapped their five-game losing streak Thursday as they defeated the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 at PNC Park.
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The crew of the Jolly Roger had put up a total of five runs in A.J. Burnett‘s first five starts this season. Clint Hurdle‘s squad brought all cannons to bear as they scored first and last in helping the veteran righthander obtain his first victory. They took the first step to getting back to .500 as their record stands at 13-15
Burnett (1-1) scattered seven hits and yielded just two earned runs over seven innings. He struck out four and walked two. He owns a 1.66 ERA after six starts. The 38-year-old delivered 52 of his 85 pitches for strikes. The Arkansas native is the 41st player in Major League history to achieve over 2,400 strikeouts in a career.
Neil Walker got things started with a line drive single to center off Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani in the home half of the first that scored Gregory Polanco.
The Pirates took the lead for good in the fifth. Starling Marte sent a sacrifice fly to right the drove in Walker and moved Andrew McCutchen over to third. Next up was Pedro Alvarez, who collected his fifth double on a fly ball to center that brought McCutchen home.
Pittsburgh added to the scoreboard in the seventh when Marte singled on a ground ball to center off Reds reliever Kevin Gregg that scored Walker and sent McCutchen to second. With the bases full of Bucs and two out, Chris Stewart singled to center that drove in McCutchen and Marte.
McCutchen contributed the final run in the eighth off Cincy reliever Carlos Contreras. He stroked a line drive to left for a single that scored Polanco.
DeScalfani (2-3) surrendered three earned runs on seven hits over five innings for the Reds. He struck out only one and walked four. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound righthander hurled 49 of his 81 pitches for strikes.
Cincinnati’s first run came in the fourth when Todd Frazier claimed his 10th home run of the season on a line drive to left. Their second and final score came in the sixth as Joey Votto grounded out to second to drive in Marlon Byrd.
The Bucs called the bullpen twice in the eighth. Jared Hughes and Tony Watson each struck out a batter to keep the Reds off the score sheet. Mark Melancon retired the side in the ninth as he fired eight of his 14 pitches for strikes.
Up Next: The six-game homestand continues as the Pirates and Cardinals begin a three-game series Friday. The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. St. Louis (21-7) will go with righthander Michael Wacha (4-0, 1.93 ERA) while the Pirates will send Francisco Liriano (1-1, 1.95 ERA) to the hill.
The 31-year-old will be making his sixth start of the season. His last start was a no-decision in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 loss against the Cardinals last Saturday in St. Louis. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound lefthander is 4-1 with a 1.86 ERA in nine career starts against the Cards. The game will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The time of the game was 2:56 and 27,302 were in attendance at PNC Park…Coming into Thursday’s contest, the Pirates catchers and pitchers lead all Major League teams with 13 caught stealings…After this homestand against the Reds and Cardinals, the Bucs will have played 25 of their first 31 games against squads from the National League Central Division.