Pittsburgh, PA – A. J. Burnett tossed seven shutout innings in his season debut and the Pittsburgh Pirates knocked off the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-0, in the middle tilt of a three-game set at PNC Park.
Burnett (1-0) was acquired from the New York Yankees in the offseason, and was set to be the Opening Day starter for the Bucs, but he landed on the DL after fracturing his right orbital bone during a bunting drill in spring training.
Burnett allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out seven for the Pirates, who have won three of their last four. Juan Cruz, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli combined to hold the Cards at bay in the eighth and Joel Hanrahan worked through a tough ninth to nail down his second save of the season.
Andrew McCutchen finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Pedro Alvarez knocked in both runs for Pittsburgh.
Matt Carpenter had two hits and Jake Westbrook (2-1) was saddled with the loss after giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings while striking out six.
Pittsburgh broke the deadlock in the fourth when McCutchen and Neil Walker stroked back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. After Casey McGehee struck out, Alvarez laced an infield single to third to score McCutchen.
The Pirates extended their lead to 2-0 in the sixth when McCutchen ripped a one-out double and moved to third two batters later on a fielder's choice groundout by McGehee. Alvarez again came through with a line single into right field to bring home McCutchen.
Shane Robinson and Tyler Greene singled to start the eighth for the Cardinals off Cruz. A sacrifice bunt by Rafael Furcal moved both runners up a base and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle brought in Watson to face Carpenter.
Watson fanned Carpenter and Hurdle again emerged from the dugout and summoned Grilli to face Matt Holliday, who struck out to keep the shutout intact.
Hanrahan fanned Carlos Beltran to start the ninth, but then walked David Freese and Yadier Molina. He battled back though, and struck out pinch-hitter Erik Komatsu before getting Robinson to ground into a fielder's choice to end the game.
To make room for Burnett on the active roster, RHP Jared Hughes has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis...Westbrook fell to 0-4 in his career against the Pirates...Pittsburgh has scored two-or-fewer runs in 10 of its last 14 games...Pittsburgh finished 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven, while St. Louis went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.