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Pirates' Locke outduels his mentor
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Locke pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning of Sunday's game at PNC Park. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Conway, N.H.’s Jeff Locke pitched eight strong innings and catcher Russell Martin hit a two-run double in the first inning to key the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday and spoil A.J. Burnett’s return to Pittsburgh.
Locke (2-1) allowed just two runs — one earned — and three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. The left-hander raised his career record against the Phillies to 3-0 and the Pirates have won each of his last five starts.
“The results weren’t there to win the ballgame on my end, but me going up against him and how he did, it makes me feel good,” Burnett said. “You see the way he’s throwing the ball, you see his approach, his confidence. You’ve got to tip your cap to the guy. He was on and he was pounding the strike zone.”
Burnett, who won 26 games during his two years in Pittsburgh, received a warm ovation when he took the mound to start the bottom of the first inning.
Locke and Burnett had lunch together Friday before the start of the series then spoke briefly before the game.