PITTSBURGH - A.J. Burnett said it was an emotional experience Sunday when he took the mound at PNC Park for the first time since he left the Pirates and signed with the Phillies as a free agent in February.
Burnett spent just two years in Pittsburgh, but he made a favorable impression. He went 10-11 with the Pirates last season as they earned their first postseason berth since 1992.
Before he took the mound Sunday in the first inning of a 6-2 loss, there was a video tribute to Burnett and the crowd gave him an extended ovation. He tipped his cap in appreciation.
"It was very moving, for sure," said Burnett, who allowed three runs (all earned) in seven innings. "They caught me off guard and I didn't know what to expect, but it was a warm reception, very classy."
Lee's brief outing
Cliff Lee made his first rehabilitation start since he was placed on the disabled list with a strained left elbow on May 19, but it was cut short by rain.
Lee threw two shutout innings for single-A Clearwater at Brevard County. The game was postponed by rain in the top of the third with the Threshers up, 2-0, after J.P. Crawford hit a two-run homer.
Lee threw 24 pitches and allowed one hit. He struck out two and walked none.
IronPigs activate Ruf
Triple-A Lehigh Valley activated first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf from the disabled list. Ruf fractured his left wrist in an IronPigs game on June 2. He had been on a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Phillies for the last week.
In a corresponding move, lefthander Jeremy Horst was assigned to double-A Reading from Lehigh Valley. Horst had a 4.59 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the IronPigs.
Fan gets involved
The Pirates took a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning when Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI triple, knocking in Josh Harrison. A fan in the center-field stands touched the ball, then dropped it.
The umpires originally ruled that the ball was in play and was a triple. A video review determined that the fan did touch the ball, causing interference. However, the umpires determined that McCutchen would have been awarded third base anyway. The original call stood.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were out of the starting lineup, but each pinch-hit in the eighth inning. Utley flied out to deep right and Howard grounded out to first.