A.J. Burnett's heroics continued Sunday as he led the Pirates to a critical 6-2 win, pitching 8.2 innings and retiring 18 straight batters before walking two in the ninth. He struck out seven.
The Pirates have won Burnett's last four starts, and he has pitched at least 7.1 innings in all of them.
Burnett allowed a run in the first on an RBI double by Jay Bruce, but the Pirates took the lead on a two-run homer by Neil Walker in the second. The Reds tied the score with a cheap Drew Stubbs homer in the third, but the Pirates got two more in the fourth when Starling Marte came to the plate with two on and blasted his first career triple, making it 4-2.
In the ninth, Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer since July 17 to provide the Pirates with an insurance run. Walker and Gaby Sanchez then hit weak singles, and Todd Frazier let a Rod Barajas ground ball go through his legs, giving the Pirates an extra run.
Burnett got two outs in the ninth before walking Bruce and Ryan Ludwick, and the Pirates brought in Joel Hanrahan, who got the one-out save.
The Pirates are now down 4.5 games in the N.L. Central.
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