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A.J. Burnett pitches Pirates past Reds to take lead in NL Wild Card

Sep 21, 2013, 10:45 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

Pirates starter A.J. Burnett, who earlier today told the media he is still considering retiring after the 2013 season, turned in a gem against the division and Wild Card rival Reds. The Reds went ahead early on a Ryan Ludwick RBI single in the first inning and a Zack Cozart solo home run in the second. Pirates catcher Russell Martin launched a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom half of the second to knot the game at two apiece. In the sixth, the Pirates scored twice on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly and an opposite-field RBI single by Pedro Alvarez against lefty reliever Zach Duke.

Burnett settled down after the first two innings, holding the Reds scoreless in five consecutive innings. After completing the seventh, he had allowed just the two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out twelve. The outing marks Burnett’s season-high in strikeouts and the most he has logged in a game since August 27 against the Rangers when he was with the Yankees.

Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson teamed up for a scoreless eighth inning, with Wilson inducing a crucial inning-ending double play against Joey Votto. Jason Grilli made his first ninth-inning appearance since July 22, before he landed on the disabled list with a strained right flexor tendon. Ludwick led off with a single, but he was erased when Jay Bruce bounced into a 4-6-3 double play. Grilli got Cozart grounded out to shortstop to end the game, his 31st save of the season and his first July 21.

With the Cardinals defeating the Brewers, the Pirates remain two games back in the NL Central while the Reds drop to three games out. In the NL Wild Card, the Pirates take a one-game lead over the Reds for the first NL Wild Card slot. Though both teams are a sustained Nationals hot streak away from qualifying for both spots, the winner of the first Wild Card slot gets home field advantage in the one-game playoff.

  1. Stiller43 - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    SUCK IT CINCY

    • thomas844 - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      You know there are still 4 more games between these two teams this season, right?

  2. Stiller43 - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Seriously, its pathetic…two blown saves in the past 4 or 5 and 2 other regulation losses (at home) to the terrible padres…buccos should be in MUCH better position than they are. Nobody to blame but themselves

  3. jhorton83 - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Good to see Clint Hurdle finally learned his lesson and put Grilli back in as closer. One day too late.

  4. junglerat524 - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    “Im glad we won but did you not see Dusty give Votto the signal to foul one off at the loud bitch in section 102 row 7 seat 6? I did. He also made Bruce foul one off at a dad holding his young child. What an ass.”
    ——————— steeler88

    glad i caught that before you deleted it

    • mc1439 - Sep 22, 2013 at 12:44 AM

      Ha ha Steeler fans always thinking they’re the victims but that was funny.

  5. apkyletexas - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Pirate fielding errors last night led to the Cincy win. A big Cincy error with two outs today led to the first 2 Pirate runs and made this win possible for Pittsburgh.

    Maybe tomorrow they can play a relatively clean game, and we can see which team has the upper hand.

  6. sportsfan69 - Sep 22, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Wow! Cincinnati wins yesterday with no article. Today, Pittsburgh wins there’s an article go figure. Biased reporting.

    • forsch31 - Sep 22, 2013 at 12:56 AM

      You mean this like article?

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/20/reds-come-back-in-ninth-beat-pirates-in-10/

    • drone501 - Sep 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      cincinnatti is a irrelevant city when it comes to a sports town. why bother.

  7. mystro32 - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Clint getting ejected & Liriano taken out in 8th with 94 pitches lost the game Friday night!

  8. yourfavoriteteamsucksbigtime - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Can’t help but pull for the Pirates.

  9. sportsfan69 - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    I’ll take Cincinnati any day over dumpy Pittsburgh.

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