Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
- Holy complete game, Batman!!!
For most of the 2013 season, a lot of Pirates’ fans were waiting for the other shoe to drop. Two second collapses in 2011 and 2012 left fans very weary of the contending Pirates, but the collapse never happened as the Pirates pushed to win 94 games and the top Wildcard spot. There were a ton of amazing moments in 2013, but one particular Sunday afternoon game stands out to me.
August 4th, 2013 against the Rockies, Burnett pitched another complete game gem. He didn’t flirt with a no-hitter this time, but he still completely stifled the Rockies’ offense. He struck out nine and allowed one run on eight hits. A pretty typical filthy start for Batman, but this moment to me got made by Greg Brown. He was in top form as he lived and died with every Burnett pitch. As the game progressed and it became clear that a complete game was in sight, the game was way more intense than a 5-1 game between a first place team and a fourth place team should be.
I won’t recap the entire game, but I will take you to the ninth inning. The Pirates were winning 5-1 and Burnett was mostly cruising to the finish line when trouble started brewing. The inning started with Troy Tulowitzki striking out looking. Then Michael Cuddyer singled and I think a lot of fans assumed that Clint Hurdle would remove Burnett since his pitch count was well over 100, but Hurdle stuck with Batman and Todd Helton grounded into a game ending double play. Nothing overly fancy, but what made the moment amazing to me was Greg Brown’s call of “holy complete game, Batman!!!” It was pure and genuine and I leapt from my couch in excitement the moment Helton was called out.
I just love this game so much because to me it represents everything Burnett is to the Pirates. He looked dominant at times, got into a little trouble, battled out of it and you saw all the emotions as he fist pumped right as the double play ended the game. It was everything A.J. Burnett is in one baseball game.
Next: Number Two