Pittsburgh Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (3-6; 3.22 ERA) tied a career high by allowing three home runs, all 2-run shots, and the Pirates lost to the Braves 7-2 on Monday night in the opener of a 3-game series in Atlanta.
Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann all homered for the Braves (35-22), while Chris Johnson contributed a run with a sacrifice fly. Burnett lasted just five innings, allowed six runs and eight hits, struck out five batters to regain the National League lead with 94 whiffs, and walked three hitters.
The Pirates scored on an RBI ground-rule double by Gaby Sanchez in the third inning and a two-bagger in the ninth frame by Clint Barmes Sanchez, Barmes and Starling Marte all recorded two of the Bucs’ nine hits.
Atlanta’s starter, Chris Medlen (2-6; 3.14 ERA) earned the win, pitching seven innings of one-run, seven hit baseball with six strikeouts and no walks.
Pittsburgh (35-23) will send lefty Jeff Locke (5-1; 2.25 ERA) against the Braves’ Mike Minor (7-2; 2.48 ERA) in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.