Phillies, Burnett halt Cards for fifth win in a row

A.J. Burnett pitched a complete game for the Phillies, allowing 7 hits, 1 run, and a walk. He had three strikeouts.
A.J. Burnett pitched a complete game for the Phillies, allowing 7 hits, 1 run, and a walk. He had three strikeouts. (TOM GANNAM /Associated Press)
Posted: June 22, 2014

ST. LOUIS - A.J. Burnett and the Phillies have had quite a turnaround since the righthander’s last start.

With Burnett pitching his first complete game since August, the Phillies defeated the Cardinals, 5-1, Friday at Busch Stadium in a game delayed 50 minutes at the start due to rain.

The Phillies (34-38) have now won five in a row, all on the road. The last loss was Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to the visiting Chicago Cubs, with Burnett the losing pitcher.

Since then, the Phillies have enjoyed their best stretch of the season, sweeping the Atlanta Braves and now winning the first two of a four-game series in St. Louis.

The last time the Phillies won at least five consecutive road games was May 6 through 26 in 2012 when they had six straight road wins.

It was the Phillies ninth win in the last 11 games and it also gave the Phillies an 18-17 road record this year.

“Guys never got down and never quit and kept going about their work doing their business, not hoping but knowing when we do click it would be fun,” Burnett said. “That is what you are starting to see, we are feeding off each other.”

Burnett’s last complete game was Aug. 4, 2013, in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Since then he had gone 25 starts without a complete game.

He certainly savored the 24th complete game of his career.

“They don’t happen very often,” he said.

The Phillies also enjoyed a strong defensive game, turning two double plays and committing no errors. Burnett benefited from the defense. He struck out just three but walked only one and threw 111 pitches, 69 for strikes.

He said his trademark curveball wasn’t especially sharp, so Burnett threw more changeups than normal. The Cardinals first 12 outs of the game came on groundouts.

Burnett had just three strikeouts but that might have enabled to pitch the complete game.

“I don’t like that,” he said kiddingly about not having a high strikeout total.

He then turned serious.

“It helps when you get a bunch of ground balls and a bunch of early contacts,” he said. “It definitely helps.”

The Cardinals’ only run came on Matt Holliday’s RBI single in the third inning. They have scored a total of two runs in the last two nights.

The Phillies took a 2-1 lead on doubles by John Mayberry Jr., Burnett and Jimmy Rollins in the fifth inning. That also extended Rollins’ hitting streak to 14 games.

Rollins has gotten exactly one hit in each of the 14 games. The longest hit streak in the majors with just one hit in each game was 16, set by St. Louis’ Ted Sizemore in 1975. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sizemore hit safely in 17 consecutive games, but had two hits in the 17th game.

Rollins is now 14 for 57 in the streak (.245).

Burnett tied the score with a double that was hit to the warning track, well over the head of centerfielder Jon Jay, who was playing extremely shallow.

It was his first RBI this season and 14th of his career.

“I put a swing in there and that was all I had,” Burnett said.

Rollins then gave the Phillies the lead when he smoked a double past Matt Carpenter down the third-base line. There was fan interference, ruling it a ground-rule double.

In the sixth inning Marlon Byrd hit a liner to left for a 370-foot solo home run, his 12th. It was Byrd’s second home run on this road trip.

Domonic Brown then hit a ground-rule double, again on fan interference, and that ended the night for Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia. Mayberry then drilled an RBI single to center and hustled to second on the throw home. He advanced to third on Cody Asche’s groundout to first. After Burnett walked, Rollins hit a sacrifice fly to left, making it 5-1.

In the seventh, Byrd showed great hustle by busting down the line on what looked like a routine grounder to shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

Byrd was called safe when first baseman Matt Adams didn’t have his foot on the bag. The Cardinals appealed and lost.

This didn’t factor in the scoring, since Brown ended the inning with a groundout, but it showed that the Phillies aren’t taking any plays off.

Notes

Centerfielder Ben Revere, who made his last start on Monday, was again out of the starting lineup due to a bruised left knee. He has made two pinch-hitting appearances since the injury.

“The swelling was getting out there but not totally to make him feel 100 percent with range of motion,” manager Ryne Sandberg said…Both Byrd and Ryan Howard extended their hitting streaks to five games…Howard has hit safely in 44 of his 52 career games against the Cardinals…Cole Hamels (2-3, 2.78 ERA) faces Adam Wainwright (9-3, 2.15) is a premier pitching matchup in Saturday’s 4:10 p.m. ET game.

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