PITTSBURGH -- Lefty reliever Tony Watson was in a numbers battle to make the club out of Spring Training, but he has made five consecutive scoreless appearances, including three perfect innings in the final two games against Arizona and a crucial strikeout of Matt Carpenter with the tying runs on base in Saturday's 2-0 win over the Cardinals.
"I have been impressed by Tony's demeanor," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Tony has just taken [care of] business one day at a time. He prepares extremely well and is very conscientious in his preparation. He has self confidence and demands a lot of himself. He's another great guy as far as using eyes and ears. His stuff has been good and clean, and his confidence is in a very good place right now."
Watson is pleased that Hurdle has shown the willingness to use him in some tough situations.
"I'm just ready whenever he calls down there," Watson said. "No matter what the situation, you just always got to be ready. You might come in with some stuff going on, some traffic on the bases or you might come in for a clean inning, but you've always got to be in the zone down there and ready to go."
Watson's confidence has grown with his success out of the bullpen.
"You always want to have confidence in what you are doing out there on the mound," Watson said. "I know it's still early in the season -- we're just getting kicked off here and it's a long season here. Hopefully, I can have continued success."
Burnett makes Pirates history in stellar debut
PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander A.J. Burnett's stellar Pirates debut in Saturday's 2-0 win over St. Louis showed up on the radar for the Elias Sports Bureau.
Burnett tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and recording seven strikeouts. In doing so, Burnett became the first Pirates hurler since 1907 to pitch at least seven scoreless innings and record at least seven strikeouts in his first start with the club.
The only other Pirates pitcher to accomplish the feat was right-hander Nick Maddox, who tossed a shutout and notched 11 strikeouts in his Major League debut in 1907.
"That's an interesting stat," Burnett said. "It was an interesting first start. The play by Clint Barmes in the first inning really settled me down, and I started getting into a rhythm, but it's just the first one. We've got a ways to go."
Right-hander Kevin Correia, who was scratched from his start Saturday with discomfort in his left side, will get the call Monday against the Rockies. Correia insists that his side is fine.
Leadoff hitter Alex Presley has hit safely in a career-best seven straight games entering Sunday.
In their first 14 games, the Pirates have yet to score or allow more than five runs in any contest. The 1965 Pirates hold the National League record for beginning a season with 16 straight games in which they did not score or allow more than five runs. The 1965 Pirates went 6-10 in their first 16 games en route to a 90-72 record.
The Bucs posted their first shutout of the season on Saturday night. The staff had 11 shutouts last season.
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.