Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

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The Pirates finally got a look at offseason acquisition A.J. Burnett on Saturday in Pittsburgh. And they had to be pretty pleased with what they saw.

Burnett loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first inning, but he wiggled out of that jam with two strikeouts and a lineout, and wound up yielding just three hits over seven shutout innings against the defending World Series champion Cardinals.

The 35-year-old right-hander struck out seven, walked just two and allowed only three hits.

53 of his 76 pitches went for strikes.

Burnett is fully recovered from the fractured orbital bone that he suffered during a late-spring bunting drill and looks poised to provide the Pirates’ starting rotation with some semblance of stability this summer. In case you’re keeping score at home, the National League Central remains a far more comfortable division for pitchers than the American League East.

Your Saturday box scores:

Cardinals 0, Pirates 2

Reds 1, Cubs 6

Marlins 2, Nationals 3

Rangers 10, Tigers 4 (Game 1)

Giants 4, Mets 5

Yankees 15, Red Sox 9

White Sox 4, Mariners 0

Dodgers 5, Astros 1

Rangers 2, Tigers 3 (Game 2)

Blue Jays 9, Royals 5

Rockies 4, Brewers 9

Twins 1, Rays 4

Braves 3, Diamondbacks 2

Phillies 1, Padres 5

Orioles 3, Angels 6

Indians 5, Athletics 1

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.