The pitching was good. Again. The hitting was not. Again. Brooks Conrad hit a two run pinch hit homer in the eleventh inning to win it for Atlanta.
The Pirates managed only two runs and were held without a hit over the final four frames.
James McDonald was touched early. He gave up a double to Jordan Schafer to start the game. Alex Gonzalez and Chipper Jones followed with singles to make it 1-0. But McDonald got Brian McCann to pop out and Eric Hinske hit into an inning ending double play. Hinske got some measure of revenge in the sixth inning with a solo homer for Atlanta’s second run of the game.
The Pirates stayed in it to that point. Mike Minor was forced to start in place of Tim Hudson and he was solid. Jose Tabata singled and stole second in the third inning. Steve Pearce singled him home. Pearce knotted the game at two in the seventh with a solo homer off of Eric O’Flaherty.
Pearce was unable to deliver in the ninth. He was up with the bases loaded but hit into an inning ending double play.
To extras they went. Jeff Karstens was on in relief and allowed a single to McCann. Conrad appeared as a pinch hitter and clubbed one over the fence in right center. Craig Kimbrel’s perfect inning in the home half of the eleventh sealed it.
McDonald gave up six hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out six. Minor went 5-2/3. He gave up a single run on seven hits and two walks. He whiffed five Pirates. Kimbrel’s save was number 14 on the year.
No complaints about McDonald’s effort.
Bucs struck out twelve Braves.
Pearce failed in the ninth, but had three hits. Tabata, Matt Diaz and Lyle Overbay each had two hits.
Another lack of Bucs touching home.
Tabata was caught stealing once and the Pirates hit into three double plays.
This was the second career three hit game for Pearce. It was his first dinger 9/15/09 off of Randy Wolf.
This was Minor’s first appearance against Pittsburgh. McDonald stays 1-0 against Atlanta after his second career start (fourth career appearance).
Clint Hurdle re-arranged the lineup. Tabata led off. Pearce was hitting second and Andrew McCutchen hit third.Pirates Prospects is FREE today in honor of the Wild Card game. You get special access to all of our content, which is typically reserved only for subscribers. We cover the Pirates 365 days a year, with live coverage all throughout the playoffs, and off-season coverage of the minor league players in the Arizona Fall League and Winter Leagues. During the season we average well over 6 articles per day on the Pirates. This is the best stop if you're a hardcore Pirates fan, and the subscription prices are very low.
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