Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen greeted Burnett with back-to-back solo home runs in the eighth inning to break a tie and lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals in game one of a doubleheader Saturday at Nationals Park.
Burnett (3-5) pitched for the Pirates organization from 2004 until June 2009, when he was traded to the Nationals with outfielder Nyjer Morgan for reliever Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge.
Hanrahan did allow a run in the ninth, but managed three outs to finish the game.
The Nationals Livan Hernandez kept his team in the game, but gets the no-decision. Hernandez went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
Pittsburgh starter James McDonald gave up an RBI single by Ivan Rodriguez in the second frame, but subdued the Nationals scoring chances in the fourth and fifth innings, striking out the final batter both times.
Jose Veras (2-2) came on in relief to notch the win, spinning 1 2/3 innings with just one hit, no runs and one walk.
Hernandez allowed the Pirates to start quickly, with two runs in the opening inning. Pittsburgh tallied three hits in their first four at-bats culminated by a Garrett Jones RBI single and a Neil Walker run-scoring sacrifice fly to right field. The Pirates led 2-0 in the first inning.
Down 2-1 in bottom of the seventh, Rick Ankiel crushed a pinch-hit solo shot to even the game at 2-2. But the Nationals blew a big chance to take the lead later in the inning.
With one out and following a walk to Roger Bernadina, Jayson Werth flew out to left field. Bernadina rounded second base, thinking there was two outs. He was tagged out at second base for an inning ending double play, 7-6-4.
The Pirates added insurance in the ninth off of Todd Coffey on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Matt Diaz to make it 5-2.
Left-hander John Lannan gets the ball in game two against right-hander Brad Lincoln.
Washington falls to 41-42 and the series is even at 1-1.
Notes: Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno was placed on the seven-day disabled list before the game due to concussion symptoms. Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez is not available for either game and was sent home due to strep throat. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said before the game it is likely lefty Ross Detwiler will make a spot start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs to give Saturday’s starters an extra day of rest after Saturday’s doubleheader.