Kansas City at Pittsburgh

Kansas City
W: A. Burnett (6-2) L: B. Chen (5-6)
S: J. Grilli (1)
HR: KC - None   PIT - A. McCutchen (11)

Pirates' Burnett wins fifth straight start

CBSSports.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- With a left-hander on the mound, the Kansas City Royals didn't want to throw Andrew McCutchen a strike.

"We didn't care if we walked him," manager Ned Yost said.

Sound strategy, poor execution.

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McCutchen homered and drove in three runs,A.J. Burnett won his fifth consecutive start and the Pittsburgh Pirates finished their first sweep of an AL team in more than a decade by beating the Royals 3-2 Sunday.

McCutchen hit an RBI double in the first inning and hit a two-run homer in the third. That gave Burnett (6-2) and three relievers enough support for the Pirates to win their fourth in a row despite having only three hits from all their other players.

"The fact that McCutchen was the one who hurt us, that's the fact I'm very concerned about," Kansas City catcher Brayan Pena said.

McCutchen has feasted on left-handers, improving his average to .463 against them after two hits in his first two at-bats against Bruce Chen.

Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar each had two hits for the Royals, who have lost four in a row and six of eight.

This was the 50th interleague series the Pirates had played since taking three in a row from the Cleveland Indians on June 15-17, 2001.

Since May 25, the Pirates have the best record in the majors at 12-3.

"This weekend was outstanding," Burnett said. "We are playing good ball now and we are hitting on a couple of cylinders and it's fun to watch."

Burnett allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Pittsburgh has won his past seven starts.

Burnett had a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings until Gordon singled with one out in the sixth. He did not allow a baserunner until Eric Hosmer drew a two-out walk in the fourth or a run until Escobar's two-out double scored Pena in the seventh.

That snapped a streak of 20 consecutive innings without an earned run at PNC Park for Burnett. He is 4-0 with a 1.27 ERA at home this season.

"He had good tempo and good rhythm today on a hot day, and he was really efficient with things," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was a very, very solid performance all across the board for A.J. today."

Tony Watson came on with runners at first and third and one out in the eighth, allowing Gordon to score on a Hosmer fielder's choice.

Juan Cruz walked the bases loaded but struck out Mitch Maier for the final out of the eighth.

With closer Joel Hanrahan unavailable because he had appeared in the past three games, Jason Grilli worked around trouble the ninth for his fourth career save and first of the season. With two on and no outs, Grilli stuck out Gordon and Johnny Giavotella to end the game.

Pittsburgh improved to 17-10 in one-run games.

McCutchen entered the game with 15 hits in his past 27 at-bats against left-handers. Despite going hitless over the first two games of the series, he made it 17 for 29 over the course of the first three innings.

"I hadn't been feeling that great the past few days, but after a few times out in the cage, I was able to put a show forth today," McCutchen said.

His first-inning double to right drove in Alex Presley, who led off the inning with a single. With Neil Walker on and two outs in the third, McCutchen lifted a 1-2 pitch from Chen into the left-field bleachers for his 11th homer of the season.

"He's leading everybody hitting left-handers," Yost said. "We really tried, even in the first inning, we didn't want to throw him a strike."

Chen (5-6) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts in five innings. He came into the game with five wins in his past six starts but fell to 0-4 in his career at PNC Park.

The Royals have lost 24 of their past 33 games against NL teams.


  • Four of the first six Royals to reach base in the game stole a base. Opponents have been successful in 23 consecutive stolen base attempts against the Pirates.
  • The Royals' next three games are the only ones at home over a 12-game interleague stretch that began in Pittsburgh. The Brewers play at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday-Thursday.
  • The Pirates' streak of 19 losing season is the longest in major league history. The second-longest active streak is the Orioles' 14 seasons. Both teams have winning records heading into a series that begins Tuesday in Baltimore.
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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The Pirates'  A.J. Burnett allows two runs in 7 1/3 innings to defeat the Royals for his fifth straight victory.  (Getty Images)
The Pirates' A.J. Burnett allows two runs in 7 1/3 innings to defeat the Royals for his fifth straight victory. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game

A. McCutchen
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
Kansas City

A. Escobar
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon, LF5120022 .243
Johnny Giavotella, 2B5010013 .217
Eric Hosmer, 1B3001101 .223
Mike Moustakas, 3B3000011 .273
   a- Billy Butler, PH0000100 .294
    Greg Holland, P0000000 .000
Brayan Pena, C3110100 .257
Mitch Maier, RF3000124 .190
Alcides Escobar, SS3021010 .288
Jarrod Dyson, CF3000012 .259
Bruce Chen, P1000000 .000
   b- Clint Robinson, PH1000000 .000
    Nate Adcock, P0000000 .000
   c- Yuniesky Betancourt, PH-3B1000110 .267
a-walked for Moustakas in the 8th
b-grounded out for Chen in the 6th
c-struck out for Adcock in the 8th
2B - Brayan Pena (8, Burnett), Alcides Escobar (14, Burnett)
SH - Jarrod Dyson (2)
RBI - Eric Hosmer (30), Alcides Escobar (14)
2-OUT RBI - Alcides Escobar (7)
SB - Alex Gordon (3, 2nd base off Burnett/Barajas), Eric Hosmer (5, 2nd base off Burnett/Barajas), Mitch Maier (2, 2nd base off Burnett/Barajas), Alcides Escobar (10, 3rd base off Burnett/Barajas)
Team LOB - 9
Outfield Assists - Jarrod Dyson 1
DP - Dyson-Giavotella-Hosmer
E - Alcides Escobar (8, Dropped line drive), Mike Moustakas (7, Misplayed grounder)
Kansas City Royals
Bruce Chen (L,5-6) 5433151 4.44
Nate Adcock 2100120 3.42
Greg Holland 1000030 4.26
IBB - A. McCutchen by Bruce Chen
HBP - McGehee (by Bruce Chen)
Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 79-56, Nate Adcock 24-15, Greg Holland 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 7-4, Nate Adcock 1-3
Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 22, Nate Adcock 8, Greg Holland 3
Pittsburgh Pirates
Alex Presley, LF4110000 .234
Neil Walker, 2B4110021 .275
Andrew McCutchen, CF3123100 .325
Casey McGehee, 3B3000013 .203
Matt Hague, 1B2000112 .208
    Jose Tabata, RF1000010 .221
Rod Barajas, C4000031 .239
Josh Harrison, RF2000000 .218
   a- Garrett Jones, PH-RF^1B1010000 .248
Clint Barmes, SS3000002 .192
A.J. Burnett, P3000022 .059
    Tony Watson, P0000000 .000
    Juan Cruz, P0000000 .000
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Harrison in the 6th
2B - Andrew McCutchen (10, Chen)
HR - Andrew McCutchen (11, Chen)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen 3 (36)
2-OUT RBI - Andrew McCutchen 2 (15)
SB - Alex Presley (6, 2nd base off Chen/B. Pena), Andrew McCutchen (11, 3rd base off Chen/B. Pena)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Barmes-Hague
Pittsburgh Pirates
A.J. Burnett (W,6-2) 7.1522260 3.61
Tony Watson (H,6) 0.1000100 3.50
Juan Cruz (H,11) 0.1000110 2.08
Jason Grilli (S,1) 1100120 1.50
HBP - Escobar (by A.J. Burnett)
WP - A.J. Burnett (3)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 107-71, Tony Watson 10-5, Juan Cruz 9-4, Jason Grilli 22-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 10-5, Tony Watson 1-0, Jason Grilli 1-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 29, Tony Watson 2, Juan Cruz 2, Jason Grilli 5
Game Information
Attendance - 25752
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - D.J. Reyburn, Third Base - Jim Wolf