A. J. Burnett tossed just the second complete game thrown this season by a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, beating the Colorado Rockies 5-1 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon, and Russell Martin provided his biggest help with a three-run home run. In the process, the Pirates took two of the three games in the series.
Burnett (5-7; 2.73 ERA) threw 110 pitches, allowed one run on eight hits, struck out nine batters and walked only one. He surrendered a seventh-inning RBI single by Jonathan Herrera, who went 3-for-3 in the game. Francisco Liriano had recorded the only other complete game for Pittsburgh this year.
The Pirates (67-44) also received an RBI single from Andrew McCutchen and a sacrifice fly by Garrett Jones. McCutchen recorded two of Pittsburgh’s eight hits. The starter for Colorado (52-61), Juan Nicasio, took the loss. Nicasio (6-6; 5.05 ERA) lasted only four-and-a-third innings, giving up four runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and three walks. martin’s homer came on the first pitch delivered by his replacement, Manuel Corpas.
The Pirates had followed a loss in the series opener with a 5-2 win on Saturday night. Jose Tabata went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, and missed hitting for the cycle by a double. McCutchen doubled home a run, Gaby Sanchez contributed two RBI singles and Josh Harrison tacked on a sacrifice fly. Liriano, who started for the Bucs, pitched seven innings of scoreless, two-hit baseball. Liriano (12-4; 2.02 ERA) struck out six hitters and walked five. The two Colorado runs came in the eighth inning off reliever Tony Watson on RBI singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer. Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa (10-6; 3.31 ERA) was the losing pitcher.
In Friday’s opener, Colorado posted a 4-2 win as starter Yuliyus Chacin (10-5; 3.40 ERA) limited the Bucs to one run and six hits over eight innings. Chacin struck out three Pirates and walked none, allowing the lone run on a third-inning RBI single by McCutchen. Pedro Alvarez doubled home a run in the ninth inning against Ryan Brothers, who earned his ninth save. McCutchen and Neil Walker both tallied two of Pittsburgh’s eight hits. Tulowitzki led the Rockies’ cause with a solo homer and an RBI single, while veteran Todd Helton also singled in a run. Rookie starter Gerrit Cole (5-5; 3.69 ERA) took the loss for the Bucs.
Following and off-day on Monday, the Pirates will conclude their 11-game homestand with three contests against the Miami Marlins (43-67). Jeff Locke (9-3; 2.36 ERA) will start Tuesday’s series opener against Miami’s Henderson Alvarez (2-1; 2.61 ERA).