A.J. Burnett worked around five walks while pitching seven innings, and the Pittsburgh Pirates stopped a four-game losing streak by cooling off the Chicago Cubs with a 3-0 victory Sunday at Wrigley Field.
Burnett allowed three hits and struck out seven while handing Jake Arrieta his first loss in six career starts against Pittsburgh. Burnett (3-1) has allowed two runs or less in each of his eight starts this year after losing 18 games with Philadelphia last season.
Francisco Cervelli had a hand in Pittsburgh’s first two runs after the catcher was shaken up in the fourth when he was hit in the groin by a foul tip. He had an RBI single in the fifth, and then singled and scored on Neil Walker’s two-out double in the eighth.
The Cubs had won six in a row and seven of nine. Rookie third baseman Kris Bryant was pulled after four innings, and the team said he was ill.
Arrieta (4-4) also pitched seven innings, allowing five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He began the day with a 4-0 record and a 2.70 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh.
Chicago’s best scoring chance came in the fourth, when it loaded the bases with one out on two walks and Starlin Castro’s single. But Jorge Soler looked at a called third strike and Chris Coghlan flew out to the warning track in center field.
Tony Watson escaped a jam in the eighth when Castro lined to center with two on, and Mark Melancon finished the five-hitter for his ninth save in 10 chances.
Bryant went 1 for 2 before he was replaced by Jonathan Herrera on a warm, muggy day at Wrigley Field. He hit .455 (10 for 22) with three homers and eight RBIs on Chicago’s 6-1 homestand.
Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler made a terrific diving catch to rob Andrew McCutchen of a hit in the first inning. But Walker got Fowler back in the third, making a nice stop on sharp grounder to second before throwing to first for the out.
Cubs: INF Tommy La Stella (right rib cage inflammation) left a rehab appearance with Double-A Tennessee in the fifth inning. There was no word from the Cubs on his status.
Pirates: Following an off day on Monday, LHP Francisco Liriano (1-3, 2.96 ERA) gets the ball for the opener of a two-game set against Minnesota. RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-1, 6.38 ERA) goes for the visiting Twins.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (3-1, 3.11 ERA) is scheduled to start of the opener of a six-game road trip on Tuesday night at San Diego. After three against the Padres, the Cubs travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks.