Despite Burnett's effort, 'pen has another long night

Bastardo and Worley thrive, while Caminero and Scahill allow big homers

Despite Burnett's effort, 'pen has another long night

PITTSBURGH -- The "6.0" next to A.J. Burnett's name in the boxscore should have been a good sign for an overworked Pirates bullpen. The veteran right-hander battled through a few long innings, but hung around for most of Thursday night.

Problem was, Thursday night turned into Friday morning with the score still tied at PNC Park. And once again, the Bucs' relief corps wound up working overtime in a 5-4 loss to the Reds.

Burnett was the last Pirates starter to complete six innings, pitching into the seventh last Friday. He got through six again Thursday against the Reds, but Rob Scahill -- the sixth reliever Pittsburgh used -- wound up surrendering a game-winning homer to Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips in the 13th inning.

Burnett's six solid frames

Starter-turned-reliever Vance Worley picked up the lion's share of the bullpen's seven innings, throwing three scoreless frames on 44 pitches.

"Worley again shows up in big fashion, gives us length," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Pitched extremely well."

Pittsburgh's bullpen has been responsible for 26 innings over the Pirates' last five games, and Worley's 9 1/3-inning workload during that stretch has been the team's heaviest.

"It just feels good to be able to contribute," Worley said. "It's my job. I have to go out there and give them what I've got no matter how I feel and keep them in it.

"I've been starting my whole career, so I build as I go on. Just have to try to stay in shape as best I can. I just have to do the best I can off the field to stay in shape and be ready to go every night."

Bastardo fans De Jesus

Reliever Antonio Bastardo also played a key role in keeping the game knotted at 4. Arquimedes Caminero coughed up the Bucs' two-run lead, serving up a home run to Todd Frazier then putting two more runners on.

In came Bastardo, who's dramatically improved after a concerning start to the season. The lefty promptly struck out a pair of pinch-hitters, both swinging, to end the Reds' rally.

In the month since his ERA peaked at 5.56, Bastardo has permitted one run on five hits and a walk while striking out eight over nine innings.

"He continues to pitch well, become more effective, throw more strikes," Hurdle said. "He's doing a real good job for us."

In the end, those outings were merely silver linings. Caminero suffered a rare lapse, and Scahill served up a homer for just the second time this season as the Pirates lost for the fifth time in their last six games.

"Both teams had opportunities," Hurdle said. "There's not a lot of room for error when you're playing that late and you're on the mound."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.