Paul Maholm pitched into the eighth and allowed just one run while Andrew McCutchen paced the offense with a three run homer and a total of five runs driven in. The Pirates cruise into the All-Star break with a 47-43 record.
Ramon Ortiz scuffled all day and it started in the first inning. Alex Presley singled and went to third on a double from Neil Walker. McCutchen’s first RBI came in the form of a sac fly and it was 1-0 Pirates. The third inning would put the Pirates in a comfortable position. It began with a walk to Maholm. Presley singled again and Walker doubled again to produce one run. McCutchen delivered a three run homer on the second pitch of his at bat.
Maholm didn’t allow a hit until Reed Johnson doubled to start the top of the fourth. Maholm had put a runner on base in each of the first three innings. Two reached after being plunked and another reached on an error from Chase D’Arnaud. But each of those three were eliminated by a double play. Johnson moved to third when Starlin Castro singled. Aramis Ramirez grounded out and pushed Johnson home with Chicago’s first and only run of the game.
Pittsburgh got that run back in the bottom of the fifth. Neil Walker led off the inning with a triple. Ramon Ortiz was pulled and Chris Carpenter entered. He gave up a sac fly to McCutchen and that was it.
Maholm’s day ended with two outs in the eighth. Darwin Barney doubled with one out and Maholm retired Tony Campana for the second out. Chris Resop was called on and he got Johnson out on a fly ball.
Pittsburgh scored three more in the bottom of the eighth off of former Bucco John Grabow. He loaded the bases by giving up two walks (Brandon Wood and Michael McKenry) and a single (Lyle Overbay). Garrett Jones pinch hit for Resop and doubled home two. A wild pitch scored the final run of the game.
Jose Veras finished up with a perfect ninth.
Maholm got the win for 7-2/3 excellent innings. He allowed one run and four hits. He struck out eight and walked no one. Ortiz went four plus and gave up six runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.
McCutchen drove in five. Presley had two more hits. Walker doubled twice and tripled.
Bucs turned four double plays.
The defense also committed two errors.
Maholm is now 9-2 against Chicago. Ortiz is 2-3 against Pittsburgh.
Maholm’s eight whiffs matched a season high. No Pirate starter other than Maholm and James McDonald have recorded more than six strikeouts in a game.
This was the tenth time in 2011 that Pirate pitchers recorded double digit whiffs. Four of those games went to extra innings.
This was McCutchen’s second career five RBI game. His career best is six RBI back on 8/1/09 when he blasted three homers. This was the first time in 2011 he drove in more than two runs in one game.
This was the first time Walker had more than two extra base hits in one game.