The Pittsburgh Pirates bats have gotten off to a slow start to begin the young 2012 season. And on Friday, they were even more silent than they have been over the first six games at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Right-hander Matt Cain started the game by retiring 17 Pirates in a row, tossing 5.2 perfect innings before pitcher James McDonald broke up the no-hitter with a single into left field.
The Pirates saw just two hard hit balls off Cain over his complete game shutout. Casey McGehee connected for what could have been a double to center, but Angel Pagan made a spectacular catch on the warning track for the out. The only other hard hit ball was by McDonald, who broke up the perfect game.
Over the three-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Pirates whiffed 27 times, opposed to drawing just two walks. The club saw that number increase to a season total of 58 after striking out 11 times against Cain. Alex Presley and Neil Walker each picked up a pair, while Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones had three over their three at-bats. The club drew no walks and had just the lone hit in the 5-0 loss.
Right-hander James McDonald allowed three runs on six hits over 5.2 innings. He walked three and struck out just one while throwing 88 pitches, 43 for strikes.
For the second straight game, the Pirates saw their starting pitcher give up runs in the first frame. Right-hander Jeff Karstens allowed three to the Dodgers in the first inning of a 4-3 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday.
After needing just two pitches to retire his first batter, McDonald gave up a one-out single into right field. Buster Posey, in his first game played at AT&T Park since 2010, took a 1-0 fastball off the wall in center field for a RBI double. Aubrey Huff followed with a base knock into right to score Posey for the second run of the inning.
McDonald didn’t have his best stuff in his second start of the 2012 season, but was able to limit the damage.
After pitching four scoreless innings, McDonald gave up a third and final run in the sixth inning. Pablo Sandoval hit a one-out double off the wall in right field and scored on an RBI knock by Nate Schierholtz. Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle called upon lefty reliever Tony Watson, who has not allowed an inherited runner to score yet this season (five base runners), to get the final out of the inning.
Right-hander Joel Hanrahan came on to pitch the 9th inning to get work in. It was his first appearance since Sunday’s walkoff win against Philadelphia. Hanrahan gave up a leadoff single to Melky Cabrera and a two-out two-run homer to Aubrey Huff.
With the 5-0 loss, the Pirates fall to 2-5 on the season and have now lost four in a row after winning two straight.
- Relief — Tony Watson: 0.1 IP; Evan Meek: IP; Joel Hanrahan: IP, 2H, 2R, K, HR
- Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen brought a five-game hit streak into today’s game (9-for-19, .474) but it ended after he went 0-for-3.
- In the first four games of this road trip, the Pirates have yet to have a hit with a runner in scoring position. The club’s last hit with RISP was McCutchen’s game-winning single Sunday vs. Philadelphia.
- The Pirates have received two walks in the last four games and a Major League low seven free passes in their first seven games overall.