Burnett sharp again, but Bucs fall 2-0
Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett was once again dominant for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, but the offense fell flat as the defending American League Central champion Detroit Tigers picked up a 2-0 win at PNC Park.
His counterpart, Detroit right-hander Shane Greene, was even better – tossing eight shutout innings and allowing just three base hits – with Joaquin Soria closing things out in the ninth for his third save of the season.
The Pirates’ offense was dismal all game-long, with just Josh Harrison, Pedro Alvarez and Francisco Cervelli tallying hits. However, until the seventh – neither team managed a run. A Rajai Davis single that snuck past the glove of both Burnett and second baseman Neil Walker broke the scoreless tie, giving Detroit its first lead of the night.
In the top of the ninth, Pirates reliever Rob Scahill served up a run-scoring single in the hole between third and short off the bat of Ian Kinsler – extending the Detroit lead to 2-0. Soria followed that with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to close things out for the Tigers, who move to 7-1 on the year.
Burnett, meanwhile, allowed just the one earned run in 6 2/3 innings of work – striking out eight and walking two. Despite the loss, he lowered his earned run average to an impressive 2.25 mark on the season.
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Detroit pounded out nine hits on the night – with Jose Iglesias and Davis managing multiple base knocks. Pittsburgh failed to put a man in scoring position all night long, a testament to just how great Greene was.
What Stood Out:
After pitching well in his first start of the season, Burnett took another step forward on Tuesday night – which sits well with fans who may have had second thoughts after the club brought the veteran back on a one-year deal.
He struggled a great deal with a lowly Phillies team last year, but to this point, he’s shown no issues being in control back in a Pirates uniform.