The Pittsburgh Pirates (9-11) beat the Atlanta Braves (13-8) 4-2, at Turner Field in Atlanta on Saturday night.
Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed one run on five hits over 5.0 innings in his fifth start of the 2012 season. He walked one and struck out nine batters while throwing 96 pitches, 62 for strikes. After losing all of his first four decisions, despite allowing two earned runs or less in those outings, Bedard finally picked up his first win as a Pirate.
Bedard got Michael Bourn swinging on a nasty Curveball to start the third inning. Martin Prado followed with a one-out double to center field. After whiffing his next batter, Bedard gave up an RBI single to Dan Uggla for his first earned run of the outing. The inning ended after Bedard got Jayson Heyward to chase for his third strikeout of the frame.
The lefty worked himself into a jam in the fifth, but was able to escape it by stranding two runners on. A four-pitch walk to reliever Livan Hernadez started the inning, and Michael Bourn followed with a single. Bedard battled through, getting a pop out, then his next two batters to strike out to end the frame. The lefty struck out a total of nine batters — which is the most by a Bucs starting pitcher this season. Bedard passed right-handers A.J. Burnett and James McDonald, who had eight. Bedard also became the first Pirates lefty to notch at least nine strikeouts in a game since Paul Maholm struck out 10 against the Phillies on August 8, 2008.
The Pirates hitters were only able to combine for a total of two runs of support during Bedard’s first four starts. Bedard’s 0.75 run support average per game was ranked the lowest in the Major Leagues entering today’s action. The Bucco bats were able to give him the run support he needed in the 4-2 win on Saturday.
Pittsburgh got on the board in the first in Atlanta. Alex Presley extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff base knock to left field. He advanced to second on the ground out by Jose Tabata. Atlanta starter Randall Delgado threw a wild pitch to allow Presley to take third base. After Andrew McCutchen drew a five-pitch walk, Garrett Jones hit a sac fly to center field to drive in the first run of the game.
Two more runs came home for the Bucs in the second frame. Rod Barajas lined a one-out single to left for just his sixth hit of the season (.133 average). Bedard dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Barajas to second base. Presley ripped an opposite field RBI double down the left field line to score Barajas. Jose Tabata slapped a RBI single to right to plate the second run of the inning and his first run batted in of the season.
With two outs in the fifth, Neil Walker hit a double off the wall in left — his first extra-base hit of the season. Alvarez picked up his second two bagger of the game with an RBI hit to right.
The Braves were able to tack on a run off of righty Chris Resop, who came in for relief in the sixth inning and quickly gave up a leadoff double off the wall in center field to Heyward. He swiped third base for his eighth steal of the season and scored on a ground out by Juan Francisco.
Righty Jason Grilli struck out the side looking in the eighth inning. He now has 15 strikeouts over 8.0 innings of relief with just one walk this season. With Joel Hanrahan’s two straight strikeouts in the 9th the bullpen combined for five straight whiffs in a row. Overall, the pitchers struck out a combined 14 on the night.
- Relief — Chris Resop: 1.0 IP, 2H, R; Juan Cruz: 1.0 IP, H; Jason Grilli: 1.0 IP, 3K; Joel Hanrahan: 1.0 IP, 2K
- Pittsburgh has recorded a Major League leading 23 infield hits entering game action. The Tampa Bay Rays are ranked second with 22.
- Alex Presley extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff single in the first. Presley entered tonight tied for the Major League lead with 21 hits among left fielders (also Minnesota’s Josh Willingham and Houston’s J.D. Martinez). Presley is also tied for the Major League lead with eight infield hits along with Miami’s Emilio Bonifacio.