Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

W: A. Burnett (4-2) L: J. Cueto (5-3)
S: J. Hanrahan (13)
HR: CIN - None   PIT - None

Pirates 2, Reds 1 wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- A.J. Burnett doesn't have a trophy case filled with awards or a closet packed with All-Star jerseys.

The veteran right-hander does, however, own a pair of World Series rings and the scars from a tumultuous career in which he's never seemed to really become the staff ace his high-priced salary demanded.

At least, not until now.

Burnett scattered two hits over seven innings, Matt Hague delivered a two-run double and the Pittsburgh Pirates edged the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 on Wednesday night to move back to .500 (25-25).

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The Pirates capped off their best May in four years with another solid performance from Burnett (4-2), who has embraced his role as No. 1 starter for a team looking to end 19 years of misery.

"I've been around a long time," Burnett said. "I'm no All-Star, I'm no Cy Young but I've been through the battles. I know what it's like to win. I know what it's like to lose ... I'll do anything I can to help, that's why I'm here."

Burnett, acquired in a February trade with the New York Yankees, escaped a potentially disastrous first inning then settled down to retire 17 straight batters at one point, with only three balls reaching the outfield.

Relying heavily on his fastball, Burnett silenced one of the National League's top offenses by having them repeatedly bang the ball harmlessly into the PNC Park turf.

"He's been very consistent," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "I think that's one of the things he was looking forward to was coming here and being 'the guy."'

Joel Hanrahan worked out of a two-on, one-out jam for his 13th save as Pittsburgh ended the month with a 15-13 record, its first winning May since 2008.

"We can pitch," Hurdle said. "Our guys aren't going to back down from anybody that comes up to the plate. We feel very confident with what we're able to do."

Johnny Cueto (5-3) gave up two runs over seven innings, walking four and striking out five while dropping his second straight decision.

"Yes, of course when I go head-to-head with somebody like Burnett, a quality pitcher like him," Cueto said. "He throws zeros, I want to throw zeros, and I want to see who wins."

The Reds managed just four hits as slugger Joey Votto took most of the night off.

The way Burnett was dealing, Votto's presence might not have mattered.

"You see how many balls we topped tonight?" Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "He must've been sinking and moving to top that many balls like that. He threw a real good game against us."

Even if Burnett hardly looked dominant at the beginning of the night. Zack Cozart led off with a ground-rule double then moved to third when Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez misplayed a sacrifice bunt by Drew Stubbs.

Burnett quickly settled down, getting out of the jam when Jay Bruce lined to first, Brandon Phillips hit a sacrifice fly to left and Chris Heisey struck out.

Cincinnati wouldn't get another baserunner until Stubbs drew a two-out walk in the sixth and its only other hit against Burnett came on a leadoff single by Heisey in the seventh.

Other than that, Burnett rolled. He has spearheaded Pittsburgh's resurgent pitching staff that's kept the Pirates competitive despite an offense that ranks last in baseball in runs scored.

Save for a woeful outing against the Cardinals on May 2 -- when he was lit up for 12 runs in 2 2/3 innings -- Burnett's ERA this season is 1.53.

And dropping.

Burnett hasn't allowed an earned run in his last two starts and silenced surging Cincinnati in a series in which the high-powered Reds failed to hit a single home run after hitting 17 during a seven-game homestand last week.

Cueto, who began the night 11-3 against the Pirates in his career, was just as good. Pittsburgh only got one runner to third through the first five innings before finally breaking through with a two-out rally in the sixth.

Neil Walker walked and Garrett Jones followed with a single. Both scored when Hague -- called up from Triple-A Indianapolis less than a week ago -- drilled a cut fastball to the gap in right-center. Walker trotted home while Jones raced all the way around from first to give the Pirates the lead.

The bullpen made it stand up though Cincinnati made it interesting in the ninth. Heisey and Votto - who entered as a pinch-hitter after being held out of the lineup for the first time this season to get some rest - both singled with one out against Hanrahan.

The burly closer, however, struck out Miguel Cairo and Ryan Hanigan to complete a 6-3 homestand.


Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman, whose hotel room was burglarized during Tuesday's game, did not pitch and was not available for comment ... Pittsburgh rookie SS Jordy Mercer collected his first major league hit with a single off Cueto in the first ... The Reds begin a three-game series in Houston on Friday. Mike Leake (1-5, 5,47 ERA) faces Houston's J.A. Happ (4-4, 4.37) ... The Pirates start a six-game road trip on Friday in Milwaukee. Kevin Correia (1-5, 4.30) faces Randy Wolf (2-5, 5.73) in the opener.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

A. Burnett
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 2
K 3

J. Cueto
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 4
K 5

Related Video

Cincinnati Reds
Zack Cozart, SS4110010 .236
Drew Stubbs, CF1000200 .233
Jay Bruce, RF4000023 .260
Brandon Phillips, 2B3001002 .273
Chris Heisey, LF4020011 .283
Todd Frazier, 3B3000011 .268
   a- Joey Votto, PH1010000 .325
Mike Costanzo, 1B2000100 .067
    Miguel Cairo, PR-1B1000012 .152
Ryan Hanigan, C4000013 .307
Johnny Cueto, P2000000 .053
   b- Ryan Ludwick, PH1000000 .206
    Sean Marshall, P0000000 .000
    Logan Ondrusek, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Frazier in the 9th
b-flied out for Cueto in the 8th
2B - Zack Cozart (13, Burnett)
SF - Brandon Phillips (2)
SH - Drew Stubbs (3)
RBI - Brandon Phillips (25)
SB - Drew Stubbs 2 (11, 2nd base off Burnett/Barajas, 3rd base off Burnett/Barajas)
Team LOB - 7
E - Mike Costanzo (1, Missed catch of throw)
Cincinnati Reds
Johnny Cueto (L,5-3) 7522450 2.54
Sean Marshall 0.1000100 4.15
Logan Ondrusek 0.2000000 2.53
IBB - Barajas by Johnny Cueto, by Barajas
Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 105-63, Sean Marshall 12-5, Logan Ondrusek 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 12-4, Sean Marshall 1-0, Logan Ondrusek 1-1
Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 30, Sean Marshall 2, Logan Ondrusek 2
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Tabata, LF-RF4000004 .216
Jordy Mercer, SS4010011 .200
Andrew McCutchen, CF4000011 .331
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4000011 .205
Neil Walker, 2B2100210 .254
Garrett Jones, RF3120010 .232
    Gorkys Hernandez, LF1000001 .125
Matt Hague, 1B3012001 .250
    Casey McGehee, 1B1000001 .190
Rod Barajas, C1000200 .232
A.J. Burnett, P2010102 .091
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
2B - Matt Hague (2, Cueto)
3B - Garrett Jones (1, Cueto)
RBI - Matt Hague 2 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Hague 2 (4)
SB - Gorkys Hernandez (1, 2nd base off Ondrusek/Hanigan)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Mercer-Walker-Hague
E - Pedro Alvarez (10, Misplayed grounder), Neil Walker (3, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
A.J. Burnett (W,4-2) 7210230 3.60
Jason Grilli (H,12) 1000120 1.80
Joel Hanrahan (S,13) 1200020 2.37
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 103-65, Jason Grilli 21-14, Joel Hanrahan 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 14-5
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 26, Jason Grilli 4, Joel Hanrahan 5
Game Information
Attendance - 16782
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Field Culbreth