Cubs nearly no-hit by Pirates' Burnett

By Caitlin Swieca
Updated 7/31/2012 11:28 PM
  • Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano reacts Tuesday after striking out for the final out in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 5-0 win.

    Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano reacts Tuesday after striking out for the final out in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 5-0 win. Associated Press

Cubs fans at Wrigley Field got their first look at the post-trade deadline Cubs on Tuesday, and it wasn't pretty.

The Cubs' offense was shut down by A.J. Burnett, who allowed his only hit of the night to pinch hitter Adrian Cardenas with two outs in the eighth inning. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 5-0.

The Cubs' extended their MLB-best streak of avoiding being no-hit to 7,441 games. The Cubs haven't had it happen since Sandy Koufax did it in 1965.

Cardenas said he had spent the game on the bench, studying the pitcher.

"I had faced him before," Cardenas said. "I was able to get that hit, and it was great, but it was very short-lived because we lost. To break up the no-hitter here at our place, that's something you don't want to be a part of."

Although the Cubs lost four veterans to trades over the previous 24 hours, Cubs manager Dale Sveum wouldn't attribute the flat offense to a post-trade deadline slump.

"I think it's just a case of Burnett's had a heck of a year," Sveum said. "A couple balls, without the wind, might've been home runs. But he pitched a heck of a game. You've got to give him a lot of credit for having tremendous command of the curveball."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had similar praise for Burnett.

"He was just so efficient, pinpoint command," Hurdle said. "He pitched the left-handers so extremely well tonight. That's one of the best games I've seen pitched, ever."

Casey Coleman, who was tabbed to start after the Cubs dealt Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers shortly before the 3 p.m. trade deadline, surrendered a grand slam to Pirates second baseman Neil Walker in the first inning. It was all the offense the Pirates needed.

"It was a long day waiting for the deadline to see what would happen, but at the same time, I was ready to go," Coleman said. "I knew there was a really good chance he was getting traded. The first inning, two infield hits, and then I kind of lost my concentration. That one bad pitch pretty much summed it up."

Cardenas, Coleman and catcher Welington Castillo were called up from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday to replace the traded Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm and Geovany Soto. The Cubs will call up one more pitcher today to take Dempster's roster spot as the rebuilding Cubs continue to get younger.

Second baseman Darwin Barney left the game after being hit by a pitch in the back of his helmet in the eighth inning, but said he felt fine afterward.

The Cubs and Pirates face off in a rubber match at 1:20 p.m. today. Travis Wood will take the mound for the Cubs.

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