Pirates 5, Rockies 1

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Pirates aren't the type of team to make many splashy offseason moves.

However, they did add a pair of noted former New York Yankees during the previous two offseasons by trading for right-hander A.J. Burnett before the start of last season and signing catcher Russell Martin as a free agent last November.

Both have shined with the Pirates and helped them to a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, Burnett pitching an eighth-hitter and Martin belting a three-run home run.

The Pirates, who have the best record in the major leagues at 67-44, kept their 1 1/2-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.

Burnett (5-7) pitched his first complete game of the season and 23rd of his 15-year career. He had nine strikeouts and one walk while throwing 83 of his 110 pitches for strikes and lowering his ERA to 2.73.

The Pirates used leadoff doubles by Starling Marte in the first inning and Neil Walker in the third to help them take a 2-0 lead. Marte scored on Andrew McCutchen's single and Walker came home on Garrett Jones' sacrifice fly.

Martin's home run in the fifth increased the lead to 5-0. After McCutchen walked with one out and Pedro Alvarez singled, Manuel Corpas relieved starter Juan Nicasio and served up Martin's 10th homer of the season.

Nicasio (6-6) was touched for four runs in 4 1/3 innings while allowing six hits and three walks and striking out four. It was Nicasio's second rough outing in a row as he gave up a career-high eight runs on Tuesday in a loss at Atlanta.

Jonathan Herrera broke up Burnett's shutout with a two-out RBI single in the seventh. Herrera had three of the Rockies' seven hits and Michael Cuddyer had two hits.

NOTES: Colorado LF Carlos Gonzalez returned to the lineup after not starting any of the previous four games, though he did see action as a defensive replacement on Friday night. ... Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado did not start for the first time since the All-Star break, and the rookie was replaced by INF D.J. LeMahieu, who usually plays second base. Herrera started at third. ... After missing two of the previous three games with a sore left knee, Martin was back in the lineup. ... Both teams are off Monday before opening three-game series Tuesday night. The Pirates will host the Miami Marlins with LHP Jeff Locke (9-3, 2.36) starting against RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-1, 2.61). Colorado will play the Mets at New York with RHP Tyler Chatwood (7-4, 3.15) pitching against RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 2.08).
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