Pirates Burnett Grounds Phillies: Cruz, Grilli, Hanrahan Close Out 5-4 Win
By Tom Smith
All A.J. Burnett does it get his team into the win column. Burnett was staked to a 5-0 lead in the first inning thanks to the Pirates putting their offensive power on display once again. This time Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick was the victim.
Garrett Jones had an RBI single. Casey McGehee went deep for a three-run bomb and Pedro Alvarez. Power was back on display as Pedro hit a missile into the seats at Citenz’s Bank. .
A.J. made it stand up. Burnett induced eleven ground balls to just one flyball and punched out seven Phillies batters. The Bucs ace went 6.2 innings and gave up three runs as he fired 101 pitches, with 69 going for strikes.
Jason Grilli worked himself into a mess in the 8th inning. Hunter Pence took him deep to put the Phillies within a run at 5-4. But Grilli battled back after plunking Polanco and even touched 96 mph on the gun. He was able to get his second strikeout to end the inning as he whiffed Jim Thome with high heat. Thome is now 0-for-6 with four K’s against Bucs pitchers this season.
Carlos Ruiz was jammed by an inside Grilli pitch and he popped the ball toward the seats behind Casey McGehee. The Bucs first baseman dove to catch the ball. He snared it just as he dove into the front row seats at Citizens Bank Park. The umpire came over for a look and raised his fist for the final out.
Grilli has increased his strand rate to 91.2 percent which is heart pumping, but he keeps slamming the door, so sit back and enjoy the ride everyone.
In the top of the Pirates ninth, Neil Walker popped out and Andrew McCutchen whiffed with two Buccos on base.
Joel Hanrahan came on for the save in the ninth and gave up a leadoff hit to Jimmy Rollins. Juan Pierre bunted him to second base. The Phillies were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and HammerTime made it 0-for-9 as he made All-Star Shane Victorino look like a clown as he struck him out for the second out.
Rollins stole third base causing Bucco fans some concerns for balls in the dirt with Mike McKenry behind the plate. Pence popped up on a 1-1 pitch to Andrew McCutchen in right center field. Cutch stared into his glove slowly before flashing his trademark smile. Hanrahan got save twenty. The Bucs got a split.