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Cubs shut down by Burnett in 3-0 loss to Pirates

May 17, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta’s first loss against Pittsburgh also was one of his best starts against the Pirates.

Arrieta pitched seven crisp innings, but the Chicago Cubs were shut down by A.J. Burnett in a 3-0 loss on Sunday.

“It’s one of those games where you feel like you won,” Arrieta said, “because you played fairly well, you were just unable to scratch across a couple of runs or get the big hit in that certain situation.”

Arrieta (4-4) allowed one run and five hits, struck out seven and walked one. The right-hander dropped to 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA in six career starts against the Pirates.

The Cubs managed just five hits in the finale of a 6-1 homestand. Rookie third baseman Kris Bryant was pulled after four innings, and the team said he was dehydrated.

“If we had this kind of homestand the rest of the season, I would be very pleased,” manager Joe Maddon said. “There is nothing to be upset about. Zero. Effort, chance to tie it in the ninth inning, again. There is nothing you can say badly about our group.”

Pittsburgh had dropped four in a row after a four-game win streak.

Burnett (3-1) worked around five walks while pitching seven innings of three-hit ball in his third consecutive win. He has allowed two runs or less in each of his eight starts this year after losing 18 games with Philadelphia last season.

“Just trying to keep the ball down. I mean, that’s it,” Burnett said. “Not get away from my game, try to keep to my strengths, no matter what the guys at the plate are trying to do.”

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.

“He’s a tough man,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s swinging the bat well. We liked him for a lot of reasons. You’re seeing them play out right now.”

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 earned his ninth save in 10 chances. Addison Russell bounced into a fielder’s choice with runners on the corners for the final out.

“We just didn’t score when we had opportunities,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “We had them on the ropes a few times and we just didn’t come through.”

ON BRYANT

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 the homestand.

DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING

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.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: INF Tommy La Stella (right rib cage inflammation) left a rehab appearance with Double-A Tennessee in the fifth inning. The Cubs said he aggravated the inflammation on the right side of his rib cage and was traveling back to Chicago for evaluation. ... LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (mild left groin strain) will come off the disabled list to start Wednesday at San Diego.

UP NEXT

Pirates: Following an off day 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 Tuesday night at San Diego. After three against the Padres, the Cubs travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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