On Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates welcomed back starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, coming off the disabled list, to face their National League Central rival Milwaukee Brewers in game one of a four-game set. The Pirates have struggled with their division rival as of late, dropping their last eight games to the Brewers. Those struggles would not be stopped on Thursday, as the Pittsburgh pitching staff gave up six runs, while the offense only scored four, as the Pirates lost 6-4 in 13 innings, spoiling Burnett’s return.
The Brewers did not wait long to get after Burnett, going up 3-0 in the top half of the first inning. Ryan Braun and Khris Davis both drove in runs in the early going, Braun scoring Scooter Gennett from third on a ground out, and Davis hitting a two-run homer, sending through Adam Lind, giving Milwaukee the 3-0 lead after the first inning.
In his return, Burnett lasted only five innings, allowing three runs off three hits, while throwing three strikeouts with only two free passes on the base-paths.
The Pirates started their comeback march, when Neil Walker hit a sacrifice fly ball to left field, scoring Pedro Alvarez and giving Pittsburgh their first score of the night, with the score 3-1 after five innings.
Off to the bottom of the seventh inning, with Travis Snider pinch-hitting for Joe Blanton, Wily Peralta walked Snider, scoring Jung Ho Kang from third base, cutting into the Brewers lead, with the score 3-2 Milwaukee after seven innings.
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In the bottom of the eighth inning, Andrew McCutchen scored on a solo shot home run, tying the game at three-all. With that homer, McCutchen is now tied for the team lead in home runs Alvarez at 22 each.
In the top of the 12th inning, Braun hit a single to center field, scoring Logan Schafer from second base to give Milwaukee the 4-3 lead.
Off to the bottom of the inning, when Pirates’ Gregory Polanco hit a single shot homer to right field to tie the ball game at four-all after 12 innings.
In the top of the 13th inning, Schafer and Luis Sardinas both had RBIs, Schafer hitting the go-ahead RBI, scoring Nevin Ashley from second to give the Brewers the 5-4 lead. In the next at bat, Sardinas hit a single to center, scoring Jean Segura from second base, to give Milwaukee the 6-4 lead, which would hold for the final score.
What Stood Out
On the negative side for the Pirates, in his first game back from the disabled list, the Brewers chased the Pittsburgh starter, Burnett, early, as Burnett allowed three runs off three hits, but only allowed two walks and tossed three strikeouts.
On Friday night, the Pirates send out Charlie Morton (8-7, 4.07 ERA) against Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson (11-11, 3.86 ERA). Last time out against the St. Louis Cardinals, Morton went six innings, allowing two runs off four hits, three walks and three strikeouts, in the 4-1 loss.