PITTSBURGH, Pa. — In game one of the doubleheader on Wednesday at PNC Park, the club was only able to plate one run off the Colorado Rockies pitchers as right-hander James McDonald flirted with a no-hitter. In game two, however, the Bucco bats came out swinging.
“I thought we played good baseball today,” third baseman Pedro Alvarez said. “Tough game the first game, but I thought we bounced back pretty well and came out victorious in the second one.”
After righty Jhoulys Chacin pitched four scoreless frames, the Bucs were finally able rally in the fifth inning.
Alex Presley extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a one-out double down the right field line in the fifth. Nate McLouth followed with a RBI double to left field. Carlos Gonzalez lost the ball in the sun, which allowed Presley to touch home plate standing up. McLouth scored the second run of the inning after Andrew McCutchen hit a base knock to right, which Gonzalez also lost in the sun.
“We’ve been hitting some balls well right at people,” Alvarez said. “People have been making good plays on us. It’s just the game of baseball. One day things bounce the other teams way. Today it bounced our way. That’s why you always have to go out there and play nine innings and compete, play hard. You never know what’s going to happen out there…We’re a resilient team. We always keep going. We never give up.”
But the runs didn’t stop there.
Garrett Jones crushed a 1-0 changeup to right field for a two-run shot — his third long ball of the season. And Pedro Alvarez, who also went deep in game one, launched a solo-shot off the right field pole for his fourth of the season — which leads the team. Overall, the Bucs pounded for five runs on five hits (all but one were for extra-bases) off Chacin in the inning.
Jones and Alvarez homers were the first back-to-back long balls by Buccos hitters since Lyle Overbay and Brandon Wood went deep back-to-back on July 16, 2011.
“I’m just very thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been getting,” Alvarez said. “I’m just really going out there trying to take full advantage of them. I’m just going out there and competing.”
Alvarez launched a double just a few feet shy of a third home run on the day in the seventh. It bounced off the wall in left for a two bagger. Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and double in game two.
“I’m encouraged enough that I keep putting him in the lineup,” Hurdle said. “You want to see tangible evidence. We all do. He does. And today was a very good day for him. He put together some very good at-bats today.”
Right-hander Charlie Morton got the ball in game two of the doubleheader. The 28-year-old allowed one base runner in each of his first four frames, but was able to leave them stranded and put up zero’s. Morton worked himself into a jam in the fifth, but was able to escape it. Michael Cuddyer singled with one out to center field. After getting his next batter to fly out, Morton hit Jonathan Herrera by a pitch on the ankle. Pitcher Chacin singled to third base to load the bases. Morton was able to get Marco Scuataro to ground out to end the inning. The only run that Morton allowed came with two outs in the seventh. Morton hung a 1-0 fastball that Ramon Hernandez took deep to dead center field.
“If I could redo that one, that would be nice,” Morton said.
“I don’t think it’s that different,’ Morton said on pitching with a lead. “While it is, as a pitcher, you go out there and you try and attack every inning like it’s the same. You try to put a zero up. But yeah, it’s nice having a lead.”
Overall, Morton tossed seven frames holding the Rockies to one run on six hits. He walked one and struck out two while throwing 101 pitches, 60 for strikes. The 7.0 innings was the longest outing by Morton this season. His two previous starters were five frames a piece.
Right-hander Brad Lincoln pitched two perfect innings in relief in his first appearance since last Wednesday. The Pirates only needed to use four relievers over the two games this afternoon combining for 4.0 innings.
“It was good for Lincoln to get in late,” Hurdle said. “It had been almost a week since he had pitched. And he was very strong those two innings he pitched today. Our guys did a very good job in letting everybody out there catch their breath.”
- Relief — Brad Lincoln: 2 IP, 2K
- With the 5-1 win, the Pirates improve to 8-10. The two club’s split the doubleheader.
- Clint Barmes picked up a double in the second inning –the 700th hit in his Major League career.
- Alex Presley extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double in the fifth.