HOUSTON (AP) — If the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to salvage something positive out of this once-promising season they’ll have to finish strong.
Burnett allowed one run in eight innings for his 16th win, and Josh Harrison tied a career high with four hits to jumpstart Pittsburgh’s offense in an 8-1 win over Houston to avoid a sweep.
The win snapped a five-game skid for the Pirates, who at 75-77 are in danger of posting their 20th straight losing season, which would extend their major North American professional sports record.
The Pirates were 16 games above .500 early last month, but have collapsed since then, including winning just three times in the past 16 games to make their chances of securing the second NL wild-card slim.
“I thought A.J. set another very good example for everybody today about finishing,” he said. “Regardless of the environment ... or what’s going on around you, his mindset today was to go out and put a foot down — and he did that.”
Burnett (16-8), who allowed four hits and struck out a season-high 11, won for the first time since Aug. 16 to become the first Pittsburgh pitcher to win more than 15 games since 1991. He had started six games with four losses between victories.
He wasn’t too concerned about reaching the milestone win.
“I just want to put my team in a position to win and get us in a good position at the end of the year,” he said.
Harrison provided the spark Hurdle was looking for in the lineup, and Jose Tabata drove in two runs as the Pirates had a season-high 18 hits. Their eight runs were six more than they scored in the first two games of the series combined.