Burnett navigates through traffic
A.J. Burnett walked a tightrope most of the evening, but he ended up only getting dinged for one run. He allowed 11 men to reach base and had to deal with runners in scoring position in four of the six innings he pitched.
He worked his way out of trouble with inning-ending double plays in the third and fourth innings. Starling Marte helped him in the fifth with a rocket throw home to nab Anthony Rizzo trying to score from second.
Burnett allowed a run on eight hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out one, the first time as a Pirate he recorded only one strikeout in a start of at least six innings.
"They had him in the stretch most of the outing and he bowed-up and battled," Clint Hurdle said. "He made pitches when he needed to and kept us in the game."
"Battle-mode," is how Burnett described tonight's outing. "I was able to make pitches with men on base. We had some great double plays."
Caminero gives up big blow
On the other hand, Arquimedes Caminero wasn't so fortunate. With two outs in the seventh he allowed a double to Soler and walked Rizzo. Kris Bryant followed with a long double that hit the base of the wall in front of the bullpens.
The double drove Soler and Rizzo home and Bryant rounded second and scored on the play following a wacky and error-filled sequence.
After Bryant scored, the Cubs were up 4-1 and left Caminero (0-1) on the hook for the loss.
"I do think that after [Jorge] Soler doubled there was too much attention paid to second base," Hurdle said. "He wasn't getting his head turned around to plate and got himself behind in the count [against Bryant]."
The Pirates scored a run in the first when Andrew McCutchen drove home Gregory Polanco, but they mustered only a single hit off Jake Arrieta after the first.
"We had as good of a first inning as you could want and only came away with one run," Hurdle said. "After that he mixed his pitches. This was a well-pitched game by him."
Arrieta retired 20 of the last 22 men he faced. McCutchen doubled in the sixth and Pedro Alvarez reached on an error in the seventh.
"This guy is turning into such a high-end professional and he just settled down, made better pitches, controlled his emotions and he was wonderful," Joe Maddon said.
Like his last start, Burnett's mound opponent kept Pirates hitters off-balance all night, mixing a 78 MPH breaking ball with a fastball that reached into the mid-90s.
"Sometimes you have to tip your hat to a guy that was shoving," Burnett said. "He made a good adjustment after the first and shut us down."
A scary moment
In the top of the second, a woman was hit in the head by a foul ball that went screaming into the safety net behind the plate. She appeared to be walking to her seat with her head turned when the ball hit the net with enough force to knock her over. She was on the ground for 17 minutes before she was removed by stretcher from the park.
"I saw it from the get-go," Burnett said. "It's scary, we're out here doing our thing and somebody's just here watching the game. Our thoughts and prayers are with her for sure. Joe West came over and said ‘we care, we care about our fans,' and I said ‘absolutely.' So whatever I had to do, I was willing to do."
"I feel bad for the lady," Hurdle said. "A lot of concern there and it was obvious she wasn't going to get moved soon, for all the right reasons."
"[Chris] Coghlan said that he thought the ball hit the wall and that's how loud it was. The umpire said the same thing. It was that definitive of that really hard, cracking sound," Maddon said.
The Pirates released a statement stating the woman was "conscious and alert" when transported out of the stadium and that she "graciously" thanked her caregivers and gave a "thumbs up" gesture to nearby fans."