A.J. Burnett struck out 10 batters in 5-and-two-thirds innings of work, but his Pittsburgh Pirates managed just three hits, and the Bucs dropped a 3-1 decision to the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon, Opening Day at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Burnett allowed a two-run, first-inning home run to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo before settling down. Chicago catcher Welington Castillo doubled home a third run in the sixth inning.
The Pirates’ only run came on a single by Pedro Alvarez in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Bucs stranded two other runners on base at the end of the game. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker provided the other Pittsburgh hits. The Pirates grounded out 12 times and struck out 10 times.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzjia defeated the Bucs for the third straight time, allowing only two hits over eight innings, while striking out nine batters and walking only one.
The second game of the series will be played Thursday night at 7:05 PM.