Brian Burres’ outing was an unexpected and welcomed surprise. Summoned from the minors and pushed into the rotation for Jeff Karstens, Burres allowed just a solo homer to Carlos Pena and the bullpen was perfect as the Pirates took the opener in Wrigley.
Josh Harrison and Alex Presley bolstered the offense with some base path wizardry, helping the Pirates eek out three runs against Ryan Dempster.
Pena’s homer kick started the scoring. It came in the bottom of the second and it was all the Cubs would get. Pittsburgh immediately got that run back plus one more. Presley tripled leading off the third. He scored on a single from Josh Harrison. A ground ball from Neil Walker erased Harrison at second (he was safe) and a ground ball out from Jose Tabata pushed Walker over a base. He scored when Garrett Jones doubled.
The Cubs wasted a pair of one out singles in the bottom of the third. They would get just two more hits the rest of the day. Burres was pulled with a runner on second and one away in the sixth. Jason Grilli got Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd to end the threat.
The Pirates final run came after Presley tripled with one out in the seventh. He scored on a two out single from Tabata.
Chris Leroux, Jose Veras and Joel Hanrahan each pitched a perfect inning to close out the win.
Burres gave up five hits in 5-1/3 and the lone run for the Cubs. He struck out five and walked one. Dempster was charged with all three Pittsburgh runs in 6-1/3 innings. He yielded seven hits and a walk. He K’d nine. Hanrahan picked up his 33rd save on the year.
All is well with Burres’ outing.
Buc pitchers combined for ten strikeouts.
Presley had three hits and two runs to go with his two triples. Harrison had two hits.
Buc hitters whiffed ten times.
Andrew McCutchen left the game before fielding in the bottom of the first after being hit on the hand in the top of the first.
Burres had made four other appearances including two starts against the Cubs. Dempster came into the game with an 8-11 mark against the Pirates. Burres’ last win was 9/28/10.
Here is a phrase that I never would’ve guessed back in April that I would be writing in September: Burres has made three fewer starts than Ross Ohlendorf on the year. And another: Burres has more wins that Ohlendorf in 2011.
Harrison did something I’ve never seen before: he doubled to the shortstop in the first inning. If you haven’t seen the clip, go find it on the game recap at mlb.com. He pushed a ground ball to the hole at short. Starlin Castro’s throw to first was late and second baseman Darwin Barney ran toward first to back up the throw. With Castro deep in the hole and Barney near first, Harrison took off for second. Pena who handled Castro’s toss to first had thrown the ball back to Dempster, who easily lost a foot race to Harrison into second base. Unfortunately, he was stranded there.
Last five Pirates to hit two triples on one game:
Andrew McCutchen – 6/8/09
Tike Redman – 8/1/03
Jason Kendall – 7/1/00
Orlando Merced – 9/4/93
Alex Cole – 9/3/92
This was just the second time in 2011 that the Pirates collected two triples in one game.