Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Burnett, Bucs fall to Cubs
A.J. Burnett was idly patting the rosin bag against his right hip when he suddenly found himself in the middle of a dust cloud. The bag had somehow exploded in his hand, covering the Pittsburgh Pirates ace and leaving him shaking his head.
It's the first time Burnett can ever remember it happening in his lengthy career. Unfortunately, the numbers he saw on the scoreboard were all too familiar.
Pittsburgh's offense struggled against Chicago's Jeff Samardzija and the first opening day start in Burnett's 15 seasons in the majors ended with a 3-1 loss on Monday at PNC Park.
Burnett struck out 10 in 5s-c innings but also gave up a long two-run shot to Anthony Rizzo in the first inning that gave the rebuilding Cubs a needed adrenaline shot.
"The pitch to Rizzo and the rosin bag, that was my day," Burnett said.
The Pirates continued a troubling trend that began during their late collapse last fall, when they failed to score in any of Burnett's final three starts at home. It was more of the same on the first day of the 2013 season. Pittsburgh managed just two hits off Samardzija then saw a ninth-inning rally fall short when Russell Martin popped out with two runners on against Chicago reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.
Burnett called it an honor to get the call in the opener, but the 15-year veteran showed some nerves early. Castro singled with one out and Rizzo followed with a towering two-run shot to center field that landed on the concourse behind the seats for one of the longest homers in the park's 13-year history.
Dodgers 4, Giants 0: Clayton Kershaw launched his first career home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, then finished off a four-hitter for host Los Angeles.
Kershaw became the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run in an opener since Bob Lemon for Cleveland in 1953, STATS said.
Nationals 2, Marlins 0: Bryce Harper, the 20-year-old left fielder coming off NL Rookie of the Year honors, hit two solo shots in support of Stephen Strasburg.
Mets 11, Padres 2: Jonathon Niese stepped nicely into his new role as No. 1 starter for the Mets, and Collin Cowgill capped a successful New York debut with a grand slam.
Brewers 5, Rockies 4: Jonathan Lucroy hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, ruining the first game for new Rockies manager Walt Weiss.
Red Sox 8, Yankees 2: Newcomer Shane Victorino led a revamped Boston lineup with three RBIs.
White Sox 1, Royals 0: Chris Sale outpitched James Shields, and Tyler Flowers homered for host Chicago.
Tigers 4, Twins 2: Justin Verlander won on opening day for the first time in six tries.
Angels 3, Reds 1 (13): Chris Iannetta hit a solo homer and a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning.