Burnett and bullpen falter big in Pittsburgh Pirates 15-5 loss to Reds


15. 61. Final. 5. 4

The Cincinnati Reds jumped out to an early lead against A.J. Burnett and the Pittsburgh Pirates last night and did not let up, coasting to a 15-5 win. While Burnett did get hit hard in his 5+ innings of work, the bullpen continued the same trend and did not give the offense a chance to catch up. The Pirates sit at 59-42 going into Friday night’s action.

The Reds took a three-run lead in the first inning with Marlon Byrd‘s three run blast. The Pirates got one of the runs back in their half of the inning on Pedro Alvarez‘s solo home run, his 15th of the season. The Reds added two more runs in the third and fourth innings, with Jay Bruce‘s sacrifice fly and Brandon Phillips‘ run-scoring single.

Cincinnati put the game away in the fifth inning, attacking Burnett and Deolis Guerra for six runs. Phillips added his first three-run home run of the night (his second would come in the very next inning) and Bruce added a two-run double, giving the Reds a 10-run lead entering the sixth.

Francisco Cervelli hit a sacrifice fly to score Andrew McCutchen, but the Reds got that run back and more with the aforementioned second home run by Phillips. Pittsburgh mounted a small comeback in the seventh, getting runs from a McCutchen single and a double by Aramis Ramirez. Antonio Bastardo added the icing on the cake for the game when he walked in the 15th run for the Reds.

Because the game got so out of hand, Clint Hurdle elected to have Jaff Decker pitch the eighth inning instead of one of the pitchers. He allowed two hits over one inning of work, and unfortunately was the most productive pitcher of the night. Decker should resume his usual outfield duties as soon as tomorrow.

What Stood Out

This was one of the ugliest games of the season for the Pirates. Burnett, who has been hit hard since the All-Star break, continued his pattern of recent poor pitching. Guerra was brought in for mop up duty and made the situation even worse by giving up another six runs. The run that Bastardo walked in confirmed that last night was one of those games where nothing was going right. Hopefully Joakim Soria will shore up the bullpen for the stretch run.

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If any positives can be taken from this game, at least Alvarez connected for another home run. McCutchen added another RBI too, pushing towards his first 100 RBI season of his career. And of course, Decker’s performance on the mound cannot be overlooked. Hurdle loves versatility in his roster so Decker may fill that elusive OF/RP spot on the team. Here’s hoping that no more games this season get so out of hand that an outfielder has to pitch.

What’s Next

The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to bounce back from Thursday night’s beating when Jeff Locke and Michael Lorenzen face off at 7:10 PM. Locke won his last start in Washington but was hit around and did not pitch past the fifth inning. Lorenzen was pummeled in his last start in Colorado, exiting before three innings had been completed. Here’s hoping he has a similar fate on Friday.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates bolster pen, acquire Joakim Soria from Tigers