Marlins 1, Devil Rays 0
Burnett threw a two-hitter for his first shutout since 2002, leading the Marlins to a three-game sweep with a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Sunday.
“I was throwing everything I had, and everything was working,” Burnett said.
The Marlins limited Tampa Bay to 13 hits in the three-game set.
“I’m glad to get them out of here,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “We haven’t hit their pitchers all year.”
The right-hander struck out seven and walked two in his seventh career shutout and third complete game this season. He has won 42 games for the Marlins, tying Ryan Dempster for second place on the team’s career list. Brad Penny holds the top spot with 48 victories.
Burnett fanned five of his final eight batters for his first shutout since Aug. 18, 2002, at San Francisco. He has 13 career complete games, including a no-hitter on May 12, 2001, against San Diego.
“(Today) is the best I’ve seen A.J. throw,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “He didn’t try to strike everybody out. He just got it over the plate. You saw him throw in the 98, 97 (mph) range before, but he used all of his pitches today. He looked like Greg Maddux out there.”
The Marlins, who scored on Miguel Cabrera’s bases-loaded walk, won all six interleague games against Tampa Bay. They have beaten the Devil Rays seven straight times dating to last season.
Florida went 7-5 on its season-long 12-game road trip, including three victories over the Devil Rays, who were coming off three wins in four games at Yankee Stadium.
“We have had some bad spells,” Burnett said. “We lost some tough games, but now we sweep a team that just won three of four in New York. We still haven’t hit our stride.”
Seth McClung (0-3) gave up just two hits in seven innings for Tampa Bay. The right-hander, who began the season in the bullpen before being sent to the minors, was recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game.
“It’s nice to throw well, but it (stinks) to lose,” McClung said. “You lose as a team and win as a team. I felt like I let them down walking that guy.”
Rookie Chad Orvella, who Piniella said will see more time in a setup role, allowed one hit in two scoreless innings.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with our pitching today,” Piniella said. “If we get this type of pitching, we’re going to win some baseball games. We just didn’t hit, and a good part of the reason is that their kid can pitch, too.”
The Devil Rays finished interleague play at 3-15, matching their mark of two years ago. Tampa Bay was 15-3 against the NL last season.
Florida loaded the bases with one out in the third, but scored just once on Cabrera’s walk. McClung threw 40 pitches in the inning, walking three and allowing one hit.
McClung finished with five strikeouts and three walks.
It was the Marlins’ first 1-0 win since LHP Dontrelle Willis threw a one-hitter against the New York Mets on June 16, 2003. … Tampa Bay (26-50) is a season-worst 24 games under .500. The Devil Rays were 38-38 after 76 games a year ago en route to a franchise-record 70 wins … Florida SS Alex Gonzalez singled in the third to extend his career-best hitting streak to 16 games. It’s the longest by a Marlins player this season. … Tampa Bay OF Aubrey Huff was back in the lineup as the DH after being limited to pinch-hitting duties after bruising his right knee Wednesday. He went 0-for-4, including a game-ending strikeout with two on. … To make room for McClung, the Devil Rays optioned RHP Franklin Nunez to Durham.