Burnett allowed just five base runners and no runs through eight innings before allowing his first and last two runs of the game in the ninth. He finished with five strikeouts in 8.1 innings pitched to earn his fourth win of the season. The Pirates’ best starter outdueled Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, who allowed four earned runs in six innings.
The win puts the Pirates at 37-25, good for first place in the Wild Card race. The Pirates’ lineup has been struggling this season but was able to put up more than enough runs to clinch the victory.
Pittsburgh has had some of the best pitching in the league this season. But with question marks surrounding much of the rest of the rotation, the team relies on Burnett as their rock.
Wandy Rodriguez, their No.2, has been solid but is currently hurting and has had his issues in the past. Francisco Liriano has been great since joining the rotation, but it’s been a few seasons since he’s pitched this well and it’s no lock he keeps this up. Jeff Locke has come into his own this season after bouncing up and down from the majors and minors the past two years. Former first overall pick Gerrit Cole is also set to make his debut on Tuesday, but again there’s no telling he will fare in the Bigs just two years after being drafted.
With Burnett keeping things together in a surprisingly good rotation, the Pirates can continue their march to the playoffs as long as they get a bit more offense.