Strong Pitching Nabs Series Win vs. Dbacks

Photo by Mark Olson

The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up their first road series victory on Wednesday after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2-1, at Chase Field. It also marked the first time the Bucs won back-to-back games since winning two straight during their Opening Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 7-8.

In all three starts during the 2012 season, James McDonald has allowed at least one run in the first frame. McDonald allowed two runs in each start against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The right-hander extended the streak to three by allowing the Arizona Diamondbacks to plate a run in the first.

McDonald left a 3-2 fastball over the plate to start the game, and Willie Bloomquist hit a leadoff triple into the gap in right center field. With one out, Jason Kubel lined a single into center field to score the first run of the game, putting Arizona up 1-0. McDonald issued a walk before getting his next two batters out to end the frame. However, McDonald needed 33 pitches to get through the inning.

After that first inning, McDonald settled down allowing just one hit over his next three innings — a two-out single in the 3rd inning. Overall, McDonald allowed one run on three hits over four innings. He walked one and struck out two while throwing 78 pitches, 46 strikes.

Brad Lincoln, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis this morning after the club placed Jeff Karstens on the 15-day disabled list (shoulder), made his 2012 Pirates debut in the 5th inning.

Lincoln was solid by escaping the jam in the sixth after Aaron Hill hammered a 2-0 fastball off the balcony in center field for a leadoff triple.  Lincoln struck out his next batter, before intentionally walking Miguel Montero. He then got Ryan Roberts to hit into an inning ending double play.

The righty Lincoln tossed three scoreless frames during his outing, with Chris Resop, Tony Watson and Juan Cruz following by putting up zero’s. Resop gave up a out-out single in the 8th, but lefty Watson got Kubel to ground into their teams second double play to keep the lead intact.

Cruz picked up his second save in as many chances with closer Joel Hanrahan sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Righty Daniel Hudson of Arizona pitched six scoreless innings before the Pirates were able to tie the game at 1-1 in the seventh. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez took a 2-0 changeup for a line drive home run to right field to tie the game. Both Alvarez’s hits this season have been long balls.

Back-to-back base hits by Clint Barmes and Andrew Mcutchen started the 8th inning to chase Hudson from the game. After bringing in reliever David Hernandez, Neil Walker hit a broken bat single into shallow right field to plate the go-ahead run.

With the 2-1 win, the Pirates have won three-of their last four games after starting the nine-game road trip 0-5. They improve to 5-7 on the season.

Game Notes:

  • Relief — Brad Lincoln: 3IP, H, 3BB, 4K; Chris Resop: 0.1 IP, H; Tony Watson: 0.2 IP; Juan Cruz: IP, H, K
  • Andrew McCutchen picked up two more hits (also a walk) on Wednesday against Arizona for a total of seven knocks during the three-game series.
  • Michael McKenry went 1-for-4 against the Dbacks on Wednesday. The catcher has been looking better at the plate since a rough spring training. McKenry has hit a solo-home run and drawn four walks over his last three starts behind the plate.
  • Pedro Alvarez drew a one-out walk in the 5th inning for his first free pass of the 2012 season.
  • Lincoln picked up his first Major League win of the season, his first since September 24, 2011 and the fourth of his career.
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Clutch Hitting From McCutchen, Jones, and Walker Leads Pirates to Win

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  • James S

    4 innings from a starting pitcher is not acceptable.

    • Lee Young

       I think he could’vBut, e gone more. They pull these young pitchers way too early.

      • Lee Young

         what the heck happened there? “could’vBut, e” should be could’ve.


        • Ian Rothermund

           Uh, I seriously doubt that they took him out because he was out of gas.

          It probably had more to do with the fact that they had a fresh Brad Lincoln and, oh yeah, they don’t score any runs! ! !!

          If McClouth would have gotten a hit in the situation, then they turn the line up over and maybe get back around to McCutchen, now the game’s blown up. 

          This was not an issue of pitch count as much as it was taking a chance to put up some runs, and it’s not that complicated to see.

          • Lee Young

             I’ll be glad when Mclouth retires, because nobody seems to know how to spell his name.
            Only ONE ‘C”. It appears to be rampant across the ‘boards’.

            And then there’s ‘Pressley’.


      • Tim Williams

        I think he was pulled because there was a runner on third in a one run game, and they had Lincoln, who could go multiple innings.

        • wtmiller

           I’m sure the game situation was the main reason, but the high pitch count (for four innings) probably played a role.  If his pitch count had been 50 instead of 80 or whatever it was, I bet he’d have stayed in.  Hurdle could reasonably have been trying to make a point, although I have no idea whether he actually was.

          • Tim Williams

            I think you could also look at it from another angle. If they didn’t have Brad Lincoln in the bullpen, capable of going multiple innings, they might have left McDonald in for another inning. I believe he was at 78 pitches, 33 of which came in the first inning.

            • wtmiller

               Plus an off day tomorrow.  A lot of elements came together.

              • Tim Williams

                Yeah. Definitely an issue with McDonald’s first inning. But I think he could have easily gone five. Not a big deal for this start, all things considered, but it is what prevents him from pitching deep in to games.

  • piratemike

    Whooo……5-7 when I thought they would be 3-9 !

    • Pittcat90

      Given how beyond awful the hitting has been thus far in the season, we should be really happy about 5-7.

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