PITTSBURGH — A.J. Burnett walked into the Pirates dugout after falling two runs down to the Reds in the second inning Saturday night when his catcher decided it was time for a little pep talk.
"I told him, 'That's all we're giving up today,' and he said, 'Yes, sir,' " Russell Martin said. "If you give up a couple, you've got to keep going out there, keep grinding."
That's something the veteran ace and his resilient club do better than just about anyone. A night after a stunning ninth-inning collapse, Pittsburgh responded behind Burnett, winning 4-2 to take a one-game lead over Cincinnati for the top spot in the National League wild-card race.
"Go out, it's a big game, it's a big series, you want to attack," Burnett said. "We were able to do that and get through seven somehow. I felt like I got stronger as it went on."
Burnett struck out a season-high 12 and became the first right-hander in the franchise's 126 years to top 200 strikeouts in a season.