A.J. Burnett wins fifth consecutive start - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

A.J. Burnett wins fifth consecutive start

PITTSBURGH (AP) - With a left-hander on the mound, the Kansas City Royals didn't want to throw Andrew McCutchen a strike.

"We didn't care if we walked him," manager Ned Yost said.

Sound strategy, poor execution.

McCutchen homered and drove in three runs, A.J. Burnett won his fifth consecutive start and the Pittsburgh Pirates finished their first sweep of an AL team in more than a decade by beating the Royals 3-2 Sunday.

McCutchen hit an RBI double in the first inning and hit a two-run homer in the third. That gave Burnett (6-2) and three relievers enough support for the Pirates to win their fourth in a row despite having only three hits from all their other players.

"The fact that McCutchen was the one who hurt us, that's the fact I'm very concerned about," Kansas City catcher Brayan Pena said.

McCutchen has feasted on left-handers, improving his average to .463 against them after two hits in his first two at-bats against Bruce Chen.

Alex Gordon and Alicedes Escobar each had two hits for the Royals, who have lost four in a row and six of eight.

This was the 50th interleague series the Pirates had played since taking three in a row from the Cleveland Indians on June 15-17, 2001.

Since May 25, the Pirates have the best record in the majors at 12-3.

"This weekend was outstanding," Burnett said. "We are playing good ball now and we are hitting on a couple of cylinders and it's fun to watch."

Burnett allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings. Pittsburgh has won his past seven starts.

Burnett had a no-hitter through 5 1-3 innings until Gordon singled with one out in the sixth. He did not allow a baserunner until Eric Hosmer drew a two-out walk in the fourth or a run until Escobar's two-out double scored Pena in the seventh.

That snapped a streak of 20 consecutive innings without an earned run at PNC Park for Burnett. He is 4-0 with a 1.27 ERA at home this season.

"He had good tempo and good rhythm today on a hot day, and he was really efficient with things," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was a very, very solid performance all across the board for A.J. today."

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