The Pirates were able to complete their sweep of the Kansas City Royals to improve their inter-league record to 4-2. 25,752 were on hand to watch the Pirates climb within a half game of first place. With a loss by the Reds at the hands of the Detroit Tigers tonight, the Pirates will be in a tie for first place with the Reds.
A.J. Burnett was something special this afternoon, going into the sixth inning without allowing a hit before Alex Gordon broke it up by singling on a grounder to right field. Burnett was still shut-down until he allowed a double to Brayan Pena, who was then drove in on a book rule double by Alcides Escobar in the seventh. Although he allowed a run to the Royas in the seventh inning, Burnett didn’t find himself in trouble until the eighth inning. After getting Yuniesky Bentancourt swinging to lead off the inning, Alex Gordon singled to left, then took second base on a wild pitch by Burnett. Johnny Giavotella singled to short, allowing Gordon to advance to third base. Clint Hurdle brought in Tony Watson to replace Burnett. Watson allowed Gordon to score when Eric Hosmer grounded into a fielder’s choice. Tony Watson then walked Billy Butler on five pitches before Juan Cruz was brought out of the bullpen to at least keep the damage at a minimum. After walking the first batter, Pena, Cruz was able to strike out Mitch Maier to escape the inning. Jason Grilli was anything but his typical self, allowing Escobar to single to right then be bunted over by Jarrod Dyson. Grilli walked Bentancourt to put two runners on base. Grilli then struck out two straight batters to earn his second save as a Pirate.
Andrew McCutchen was the heart and soul of the Pirates’ offense arsenal today. In the first inning, McCutchen opened up the scoring, doubling home Alex Presley. He also drove in the next two Pirates runs in the third inning by hitting a home run to left field, allowing Neil Walker to head home. Cutch and Matt Hague drew the two walks for the Bucs today.