Pirates reliever Nick Burdi left in tears with a right arm injury, a chilling low point for Pittsburgh in a 12-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night.
Burdi, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, had already given up five runs in a third of an inning when he fired a 96 mph fastball to Jarrod Dyson. The 26-year-old Burdi shrugged his right arm after releasing the pitch then crumpled to the ground. Surrounded by teammates, a trainer and manager Clint Hurdle, Burdi sobbed on the mound before standing and walking off holding his arm.
The team said Burdi was dealing with pain in his biceps and right elbow. Formerly a top prospect with the Twins, Burdi had struck out 17 over 8 1/3 innings prior to Monday in a promising start to the season.
The scene came after the Diamondbacks had already put the finishing touches on a massive rally that turned a three-run deficit into their major league leading ninth comeback win of the season.
David Peralta hit a bases-clearing triple off Kyle Crick (0-1) in the seventh and Christian Walker smacked a two-run homer off Burdi two batters later.
Arizona’s surge started with a walk and four singles — two of them swinging bunts by John Ryan Murphy and newly acquired Blake Swihart that didn’t even reach the pitcher’s mound — that drew them within 4-3. Peralta then drilled a shot to the gap in right-center off Crick, and Walker followed two batters later with a towering flyball off Burdi that landed in the first row of seats in the right field stands to push the margin to four.
Arizona’s Eduardo Escobar hit his third home run of the season and finished with three hits and three RBIs, including a flare to left field over Pittsburgh’s drawn-in infield in the seventh that set the table for Peralta. Murphy finished with three hits for the Diamondbacks, who improved to 5-2 on their current 10-game trip. Matt Andriese (3-1) picked up the win in relief.
Pittsburgh right fielder Gregory Polanco doubled and singled in his return from shoulder surgery last September. Colin Moran drove in two runs and Josh Bell had an RBI triple, but the Pirates wasted a solid start by Joe Musgrove — who gave up three runs on five hits in six-plus innings — when the bullpen fell apart in the seventh.
Wilmer Flores led off the seventh with a walk and Nick Ahmed followed with a single to chase Musgrove. Murphy and Swihart followed with dribblers the Pirates couldn’t turn into outs to pull Arizona within 4-2. Escobar’s bloop fell just out of the reach of Pittsburgh rookie shortstop Cole Tucker and Peralta’s line drive rolled all the way to the wall in right-center. By the time he slid safely into third, the Diamondbacks were in front. Arizona piled on from there on its way to its second-highest scoring output of the season.
Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley only lasted four-plus innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, with four walks and two strikeouts. It could have been much worse. Pittsburgh left eight runners on over the first five innings.
Burdi’s injury came during another four-run surge by Arizona in the eighth. Trailing by eight, Pittsburgh turned to outfielder J.B. Shuck in the ninth. Shuck allowed a hit and a walk but didn’t give up a run.
Pirates: 2B Kevin Newman will spend some time in the outfield at Triple-A Indianapolis working in the outfield as he recovers from a laceration in the middle finger of his right (throwing) hand. Hurdle said Newman will also get in some work at shortstop, though Newman could find himself as more of a utility player at the big-league level.
Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams (1-0, 2.59 ERA) will look for his first victory since March 31 on Tuesday. Arizona starter Luke Weaver (1-1, 3.92) tossed five shutout innings in his last start, a win over Atlanta on April 18.