MLB: Pirates' bullpen can't back up Burnett
PHILADELPHIA — A.J. Burnett needed too many pitches to get through five innings. Once he left, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pirates bullpen.
Jimmy Rollins hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth, Jonathan Pettibone had an impressive major league debut and the Phillies beat Pittsburgh 3-2 Monday night.
Burnett gave up two runs and five hits. He left after 101 pitches and the Phillies got the decisive run off Jared Hughes (1-2).
“It was a grind all night,” Burnett said. “Sometimes I had it, sometimes I didn’t.”
Considering he had average stuff, Burnett did well to only allow two runs.
“It shows how good a pitcher he is,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was good to see he gave us what he had.”
Pettibone allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six in 5 1-3 innings. The righty was pulled after 83 pitches and didn’t get a decision.
Filling in for injured lefty John Lannan, the 22-year-old Pettibone was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley after going 0-2 with a 9.20 ERA in three starts.
He fared better against big league batters.
“My game plan was to be aggressive, go after guys,” he said. “I have to pitch to my strengths. Once I got on the mound, the nerves were flying. Once I settled down, I got in a rhythm.”
Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin hit solo homers for the Pirates.
Hughes retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth before running into trouble.
He walked Erik Kratz. Pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera then reached on an infield single, diving headfirst into first base. Rollins followed with a line-drive single to right that scored Kratz.
“(I’ve) got to go out there more than five innings,” Burnett said.
Raul Valdes (1-0) got two outs in the sixth to earn the win. Antonio Bastardo worked the seventh, Mike Adams tossed a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his fourth save in four tries.
“We have to win the one-run games,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Garrett Jones hit a one-out double off Papelbon, but Neil Walker flied out to right and Papelbon struck out Alvarez looking to end it. Papelbon is 55-for-55 in save chances in April in his career.
Alvarez gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead when he drove his third homer out to right in the second. Martin led off the fifth with a drive out to left to tie it at 2.
Pettibone helped Philadelphia get its first run when he walked in his first plate appearance in the third, advanced to second on Rollins’ single, went to third on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch.
The Phillies briefly took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Michael Young led off with an infield single, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Domonic Brown walked and Ben Revere singled to load the bases. Burnett struck out Kratz following a 10-pitch at-bat and fanned Pettibone.
But Rollins took a 2-2 pitch off his leg to force in a run. Burnett then struck out John Mayberry Jr. to end the inning.
Pettibone worked out of trouble in the first after Starling Marte led off with a double and advanced to third on a fly out. He fell behind Andrew McCutchen 3-0 before striking him out looking at a fastball on the outside corner. Mayberry then saved a run with a fully-extended, diving catch on Jones’ liner to right.
“That was great,” Pettibone said. “Who knows what would’ve happened after. It was a big play.”
NOTES: Pettibone was 13-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 26 starts last year at Double-A and Triple-A. ... Burnett has 42 strikeouts, leading the NL. ...The Pirates extended their errorless streak to 40 innings. ... Phillies opening-day starter Cole Hamels (0-2, 6.46) tries again for his first win tonight vs. LHP Jeff Locke (1-1, 5.17).