PITTSBURGH -- Getting run over by the Brewers for seven stolen bases on Tuesday night took the Pirates somewhere they hadn't been in more than 22 years. On May 23, 1990, the Astros swiped eight bags against them. Can't blame that one on A.J. Burnett. The starter that night in the Astrodome was Bob Walk, the club's longtime broadcast analyst. The most recent runaway, however, does fall on Burnett, who has been vulnerable to the running game all season. It is merely less noticeable when he is making key pitches to strand those runners, and when the Bucs are putting up big runs behind him.
"They were stealing on us earlier, too, but we were making pitches, so it didn't matter," said Burnett, including the rest of the Bucs' lenient staff. As he should: When the scoreboard totals show 137 steals in 151 tries, everyone has a hand in it. But Burnett's handprint is the biggest. Forty-seven of those steals have come in his starts. He has personally been on the mound for 34 of those (in 34 attempts; the only two caught stealing against him were picked off first), but that success sets a tone, as it did for the Brewers on Tuesday. "I'd still rather not worry about it," said Burnett, unwilling to give in to runners by speeding up his delivery or by throwing more fastballs than advisable. "I'd still rather worry about making a pitch and trying to get an out. But if we're going to let them steal, you do need to make pitches. They just had our number [on Tuesday] night."