A.J. Burnett‘s surprise debut started off roughly: A four pitch walk to Rafael Furcal, a single from Matt Carpenter, and a five pitch walk to Matt Holliday loaded the bases with no one out. But from that point on, Burnett was nearly untouchable. Two strikeouts and a line drive to short got him out of the first. He set down the next nine in a row. Only two other Cardinals would reach base in his seven innings. He even survived a bunting attempt in the third. It was exactly the kind of outing the team had hoped for when they acquired him in February.
The offensive hero of the night? None other than Pedro Alvarez, who had been 2 for 30 coming into the night. In the fourth inning, a hot shot to third that David Freese couldn’t field cleanly brought in Andrew McCutchen with the game’s first run. In the sixth, Pedro would knock in Cutch again with a hard grounder to right. Hopefully this will be the start of changing fortunes for Alvarez.
Joel Hanrahan made his first appearance since tweaking his hamstring in San Francisco. He wasn’t sharp, walking two, but finished off the game to nail down the Pirates’ sixth win. The rubber match is today at 1:35.