A.J. Burnett recorded strikes on just 53 percent of his pitches Thursday afternoon. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Busch Stadium has been the home of several A.J. Burnett nightmares, but his Thursday afternoon was a new day terror.
The St. Louis Cardinals attacked Burnett for seven runs without recording an out in the 3rd inning of National League Division Series Game 1. The veteran right-hander escaped a no-out jam in the 2nd by generating two groundballs, but nothing worked out for Burnett in the next frame as all eight batters reached base to end his first playoff start with the Pirates.
"That 3rd I was just too anxious," Burnett said. "Just didn't stay back. Didn't execute anything, and that's been the story here."
Coming off back-to-back Busch starts in which he gave up five earned runs, Burnett matched last season's 12-run tire fire in spirit if not exact result. The blowup set in motion a 9-1 Cardinals victory in NLDS Game 1.
James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person.