ST. LOUIS (AP) — A.J. Burnett had a special fan watching him pitch for the first time Friday night and he wanted to impress.
Burnett scattered seven hits for his first complete game of the year and the Philadelphia Phillies won their season-high fifth in a row, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1.
"It the first time in my career my grandmother has seen me pitch," Burnett said. "It was extra special. She came up from Little Rock, Arkansas, with my mom and brother. It was awesome. She saw a good game."
"I'm giving her the game ball," he said.
The Phillies' winning streak has come on the road. They have won nine of 11 overall.
"Everybody is feeding off one another and it's clicking," Burnett said. "We're having fun."
St. Louis has dropped three in a row after winning five straight.
"We're trying real hard," said Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who had two hits. "But we're facing good pitchers. A.J. threw a good game, kept us off balance."
Burnett (5-6) threw 111 pitches to earn his 24th complete game. He struck out three, walked one and hit two batters.
"Complete games don't happen very often," Burnett said. "I got quick outs, groundball outs. I threw my changeup a lot. I bet I threw 20-plus tonight. It was one of the days when the hook wasn't there. Normally, we keep pounding the hook trying to get it, but the changeup was effective. That pitch helped more than anything."
That was the key, Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said.
"He had command of three pitches and he seemed to really pound the zone," Sandberg said. "When we gave him the lead, he really held his stuff. He still had good stuff in the ninth inning. He did a lot of things to help himself win the game."
That included his bat.
Burnett, who came into the season as a career .110 hitter, contributed an RBI double and scored. The ball bounced on the track in front of the 400-foot mark.
"With the infield in, I've got hit it in the air, right?" Burnett said with a laugh. "I put a pretty good swing on it thought. That's all I got, though. If that ball doesn't leave, it's not going to leave at all."
Marlon Byrd homered and John Mayberry Jr. added two hits and scored twice. Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak to 14 games with two hits.