The game looked alright early on. AJ Burnett struggled in the 1st inning, loading the bases with no outs. A double play got him out of the inning after giving up just 1 run on a sac fly. Over the next 7 innings, AJ gave up just 5 hits. He didn’t allow another run as he hoped for his 17th win of the year. It would have given him a chance to match his career high of 18 wins on Wednesday in the last game of the season. He walked a batter in that 1st inning, and from then on his command was good enough to not walk another batter.
The Pirates batters were hopeless in their attempt to help AJ to get that win. After being shut down for the first 2 innings, Clint Barmes led off the 3rd. He reached on an error and got everyone’s hopes up a little bit. Rod Barajas batted next, looking to continue his 9-game streak of reaching base. He’s looked comfortable at the plate lately. He’s been hitting well and drawing walks well too. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Rod popped out to the second baseman. AJ Burnett isn’t a good hitter. He’s not expected to be a good hitter. His attempt to move Clint to 2nd base failed as he struck out on a foul bunt. Alex Presley was the last hope of the inning; he flied out to left and everyone’s hopes dwindled a little more.
The next time a Pirates batter reached base was in the 7th inning, when Andrew McCutchen walked with 1 out. He took into account the Pirates’ inability to move Clint to 2nd base and took matters into his own hands by successfully stealing 2nd. Since it worked, he tried it again and went for 3rd base. A perfect throw by the catcher nailed him at 3rd and suddenly left the Pirates with the bases empty and 2 outs. Garrett Jones ended the inning by flying out to right field.
The Pirates came to the 9th inning, still hitless. AJ had pitched 8 strong, and Tony Watson pitched a perfect of the top of the 9th. At this point, it was too late to get AJ the win; the goal was to get a hit and then maybe a win, regardless of to whom it was given. Rod Barajas should have led off the top of the 9th, but the decision was made to get a fresh bat in there by pinch-hitting Brock Holt. Brock struck out on a foul tip on the 4th pitch of the at-bat. Michael McKenry came up to bat, pinch-hitting for Tony Watson. He fought hard through his at-bat. He fought from an 0-2 count back to a 3-2 count and almost got hit in the head with one pitch. He dropped to the ground to avoid it, then climbed back to his feet. He fouled off another pitch before hitting the 8th pitch of the at-bat to left field, where the left fielder was waiting. Alex Presley came to bat. Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, Alex Presley was the last hope. He took a ball, fouled off a fastball, took another ball, and made contact on the 4th pitch of the at-bat. He popped it up, and the second baseman caught it.
The game was over. The Pirates received their 81st loss of the year. They lost their chances at a winning season. AJ Burnett lost his chance to match his career high in wins. Neil Walker, the Pittsburgh kid, could do nothing but watch helplessly from the dugout after being shut down for the season officially earlier in the day with a herniated disk in his back. AJ Burnett pitched a heck of a game and has just a loss to show for it.
The final score stands as such: the Cincinnati Reds with 1 run, 7 hits, and 1 error; the Pittsburgh Pirates with 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors.