A.J. Burnett shines as Pittsburgh Pirates walk-off Phillies 1-0 in extras
By Tyler Waite
The Pittsburgh Pirates secured their MLB-best sixth series sweep of the season with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon. The series finale featured a pitching gem from A.J. Burnett and the Pirates second walk-off of the season from Josh Harrison. The win raised the Pirates’ record to a season-best eight games over .500 at 35-27.
Burnett started for the Pirates and went nine innings, giving up no runs on five hits and just one walk, while also striking out four. He only threw 101 pitches, 71 of which were strikes. Burnett’s ERA now sits at 1.89, which is good for second in the National League behind teammate Gerrit Cole. Relievers Jared Hughes and Antonio Bastardo combined for two innings of shutout ball to close out the game.
Cole Hamels started for the Phillies and nearly went toe-to-toe with Burnett. Hamels lasted seven innings, giving up no runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out a season-high 12 batters. The Phillies used three pitchers in relief.
The two teams combined for just 15 hits, nine fewer then the 24 they had in game one of the series, which also ended 1-0 in extras. The only Phillie to get a hit off of Burnett until the seventh inning was Jeff Francoeur, who had two up until that point. The Pirates had the bases loaded in the fourth, but couldn’t deliver. Manager Clint Hurdle was ejected in the ninth inning for arguing, but the Pirates wouldn’t need him to win the game. With two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Neil Walker singled, then Jose Tabata reached on a throwing error by shortstop Freddy Galvis, pushing Walker to third base. With Jonathan Papelbon pitching, Josh Harrison swung at the first pitch he saw, singling up the middle and scoring Walker. It was the second walk-off for the Pirates in three days, and their first two of the season.
What Stood Out
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A.J. Burnett continues to dominate in his farewell season. He’s on pace to have the best year of his career, and his ERA is good for second in the National league and his WAR of 2.8 is good for fourth in the NL. He is well on his way to pitching in his first all-star game and could receive NL Cy Young consideration at the end of the year.
Starling Marte hit the Phillies hard all series. He was 3-5 on Sunday and part of the reason Harrison was given a pitch to hit was because Marte was in the on-deck circle behind him. Marte went 9-16 in the series. Harrison also added two hits on the day. Reliever Jared Hughes pitched in both 1-0 contests this series and didn’t yield a run.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (35-27) begin a two-game series with the Chicago White Sox (28-33) as they hope to end the home stand well before travelling to take on the White Sox for a two-game series in Chicago. Francisco Liriano (3-5, 3.25 ERA) hopes to last as long as he did in his last start (eight innings) but give up fewer runs (three) as he takes the mound for the Pirates. Rookie Carlos Rodon (2-0, 2.66 ERA) pitches for the struggling White Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM EST Monday night.
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