Bucs sweep Phils on Harrison's walk-off in the 11th
Game dominated by pitchers' duel between Hamels and Burnett
PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander A.J. Burnett threw nine scoreless innings Sunday afternoon at PNC Park and Josh Harrison hit a walk-off single in the 11th, leading the Bucs to a 1-0 win over the Phillies.
Burnett shut down the Phillies, for whom he pitched a year ago, and helped the Pirates finish off a three-game weekend sweep featuring two extra-inning, walk-off victories. Backed by several outstanding defensive plays, the 38-year-old right-hander needed only 101 pitches as he gave up five hits and a walk while striking out four.
"It was probably one of the funnest games I've pitched in in a while," Burnett said. "I was keeping the ball down the best I can and watching these guys do what they can do behind me."
Burnett, now second in the National League behind teammate Gerrit Cole with a 1.89 ERA, went back and forth for most of the game with Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels before Neil Walker singled up the middle off closer Jonathan Papelbon, moved to third on a throwing error by Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis and scored on Harrison's base hit to center.
Galvis was disappointed in himself after the game, saying the small mistakes are all the more frustrating in a pitchers' duel like Sunday's game.
"Just made a bad throw," Galvis said. "One mistake cost us the game."
Coming off a start in which he allowed five runs on eight hits against the Reds, Hamels returned to his dominant form Sunday afternoon. The Phillies' lefty ace struck out 12 while permitting only four hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings.
Hamels has now racked up 103 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings, fanning 26.6 percent of the batters he's faced this season.
"I tried to stay with him. He probably punched out, what, 30 or something," said Burnett, a teammate of Hamels' last year. "He's a competitor like me, and I enjoy going up against him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
S-Rod lays out: Burnett was backed by a number of strong defensive plays, none of them more impressive than the one Sean Rodriguez made in right field to end the fifth inning. With the bases empty and two outs on the board, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis ripped a line drive to right. Rodriguez dashed back and to his left, flung himself toward the ball and reeled it in with the full-extension grab.
"Running and diving and just hoping it went in my glove," Rodriguez said.
Hamels escapes: After cruising through the first three innings, Hamels had his back against wall in the fourth. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen led off the frame with a single, and catcher Francisco Cervelli singled after Hamels secured two outs. Hamels then hit Corey Hart in the foot with a pitch, loading the bases for Jordy Mercer. In a scoreless game, it was a dicey situation for the visiting starter, but he induced a groundout to end the frame.
Revere gunned down: With one out in the top of the ninth, Ben Revere tried to steal third base and give Chase Utley the chance at a go-ahead sacrifice situation. While Revere beat Francisco Cervelli's slightly high throw, his foot momentarily came off the bag. Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang kept his mitt on Revere, and the speedster was called out, nixing a potent scoring opportunity.
"With a chance with Chase Utley up there, that's a prime position for us that was taken away," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
"Anytime you get a walk-off, it's always fun. You never want it to get down to that point. You'd like to get the lead before your last at-bat, but that's one thing about this team. It could be a different guy every night. That's what we've proved." -- Harrison
"He's still ahead of me?" -- Burnett, when informed he trailed only Cole (1.71) for the NL's lowest ERA
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The last turn through their rotation, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Cole and Burnett have pitched 36 1/3 innings while allowing four earned runs. That's good for a 0.99 starters ERA since Tuesday.
With one out and Revere on second base, Utley ripped an opposite-field line drive into shallow left field. The ball landed just left of the foul line and was ruled foul by third-base umpire Jeff Nelson. The Phillies challenged the close call, but a 44-second review confirmed Nelson's initial decision.
HURDLE EJECTED IN NINTH
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for arguing with home-plate umpire Cory Blaser about a strike call to pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez. Entering the game for Burnett with the winning run on second base, Alvarez took a low first strike from reliever Luis Garcia. Hurdle was tossed for arguing the call, and Alvarez struck out three pitches later to send the game into extra innings.
Phillies: Aaron Harang, a pleasant surprise for the Phillies this year, will hit the hill again at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday against the Orioles in Baltimore. Harang, toting a 3.04 ERA this season, hasn't pitched well lately -- the 37-year-old has surrendered 12 earned runs combined over his last two starts after ceding seven over his previous six outings.
Pirates: Left-hander Francisco Liriano, who pitched for the White Sox in 2012, will face Chicago at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday at PNC Park. After giving up a season-high seven runs against the Twins on May 19, Liriano has gone 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 35 strikeouts in his last four starts. The Pirates are 9-17 all-time against the White Sox, who will send rookie left-hander Carlos Rodon to the mound Monday night.
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