Burnett made a pretty good attempt as the Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-0 Wednesday night, taking a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Carlos Beltran doubled to right-center with two outs. That was the lone hit given up by Burnett in seven dominant innings.
The headlines are as abysmal as they are farcical:
AJ Burnett flirts with no-no as Pirates top Cardinals
Pirates’ AJ Burnett loses no-hitter with two outs in the seventh
Burnett tosses one-hit wonder
And, I guess, repetitive. Unimaginative sports desk editors across the country apparently had “Flirts With No-No” burned onto their brains.
But I call baloney. Mr. Burnett was nowhere near pitching a no-hitter.
“My goal every time out is to throw a no-hitter,” Mr. Burnett helpfully told reporters after the game. His goal ought to be to get out of the locker room every day without smashing his face in a door or scraping up his knuckles on furniture, but that is as may be.
On Wednesday night, Mr. Burnett allowed his first hit two outs into the seventh. He finished the inning, but was finished for the game. He had thrown 101 pitches and was still seven outs, four commercial breaks and who knows how many pitches from his stated goal.
Mr. Burnett wasn’t flirting with a no-hitter; he was cooked. Maybe he saw the no-hitter across the room, but she was already flirting with someone else.
The Cardinals’ hitless streak ended when Carlos Beltran doubled to right-center.
After the game, Mr. Burnett said he “looked at Carlos when he got to second base and said, ‘Couldn’t you have had one more swing-and-miss against me?’” Of course, we all know that Mr. Beltran’s specialty is to stand-and-watch.
Mr. Burnett did record a worthwhile milestone, even for a 36-year-old. He struck out his 2,000th batter. He is No. 67 on the career list. I mention this only because Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle scolded the press room after the game that if you didn’t respect 2,000 strikeouts, you “have no respect for the game.”
Neither do most major leaguers we could mention, which is probably why Mr. Hurdle was so snippy.
- Burnett, Pirates Shut Out Cardinals, 5-0 (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)