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Pirates lament being limited to 1 run in first

RBI single by McCutchen all Pittsburgh can muster off Cubs' Arrieta

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates already knew, as does everyone around baseball, that if you let a good pitcher off an early hook, you are done fishing. They did not need a demonstration.

Nevertheless, the Bucs got a vivid one Monday at the outset of their 5-2 loss to the Cubs.

Chicago right-hander Jake Arrieta was distributing line drives to the Pirates' lineup. Six players came up, all six hit ropes. At the end of the barrage, the Bucs had one run -- the only one they would get in Arrieta's seven innings.

"We had as good a first inning as you'd want. Every ball was hit sharp -- and we only came away with one run," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Video: [email protected]: McCutchen brings in Polanco with a single

Josh Harrison led off with a smashed grounder up the middle, smothered by diving shortstop Starlin Castro, whose throw to first was on time.

Gregory Polanco roped a single to center, stole second and scored on Andrew McCutchen's opposite-field rope to right.

Neil Walker split the left-center gap for a double.

Starling Marte ripped a one-hopper through the box that found the glove of Arrieta, who had McCutchen trapped off third for out No. 2.

Pedro Alvarez hit a laser into center fielder Dexter Fowler's glove.

Say good night, Bucs: Arrieta kept retiring everyone up to McCutchen's two-out double in the sixth.

A.J. Burnett, conversely, navigated baserunner-infested waters, yet was in a 1-1 tie after six.

"Battle mode," Burnett said. "Sometimes you got to tip your hat to the other guy. He was shoving. He made a good adjustment after the first."

"Sure looked like it," Hurdle said. "He mixed his pitches, good finish. When you're covering 78 [mph] to 95 [mph], breaking pitch to fastball, that's a tough assignment. This was a well-pitched game by him."

Video: [email protected]: Burnett escapes jam with a double play

Touching all the bases

• First: Chris Stewart hit a two-run single in his third at-bat of the season on Sunday; a year ago, the catcher did not pick up an RBI until at-bat No. 34.

• Second: The Pirates' outfield picked up its first two assists of the season, by Marte and by Andrew Lambo, in his only inning in right field after remaining in the game following an eighth-inning pinch-hit appearance.

• Third: Burnett had a pitch-to-contact game, his only strikeout leaving him still 10 shy of catching Sandy Koufax for 42nd place on the all-time list.

• Marte's ninth-inning homer, his third in his past four games, was his eighth hit of the season. Five of them have gone for extra bases (a double and four home runs).

Video: [email protected]: Marte hits solo homer, cuts deficit in 9th

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
Read More: Pittsburgh Pirates, A.J. Burnett, Andrew McCutchen