Pirates Notebook: Bucs Can’t Pull Off Comeback Win; McCutchen Wins Two Awards
The Pirates have been able to pull off the comeback win 24 times this season. It’s been kind of the theme for the 2012 Bucs, battling back. Last year, the team was only able to pull off 36 over the entire season. So when Pedro Alvarez stepped to the plate after enduring a rain delay in the ninth inning with two runners on, one out, and a left-handed reliever on the mound, there was a glimpse of hope.
With one swing of the bat, Alvarez launched a three-run home run on the first pitch to the opposite field to tie the game. It marked his 18th of the season — second to only Andrew McCutchen’s 21. Moments like that make this year different.
But the team wasn’t able to pull off the win as they lost a heartbreaker.
Jason Grilli took the bump in the bottom of the frame in the tie game. This season Grilli has been dominant. He had been scored upon just once over his last eight appearances while posting a 1.38 ERA since late April. The right-hander gave up a leadoff single, before whiffing his next batter on a foul tip. The next batter, Jason Giambi connected for a pinch-hit single to put runners on the corners with just one out. Dexter Fowler followed that up by taking a 1-2 fastball into center field for a sac fly for the walkoff 5-4 win.
The Pirates dropped their third game of their four game roadtrip, but remain a game out of first place in the National League Central after Cincinnati lost tonight.
McCutchen Named NL Player of the Week and Month
Andrew McCutchen was named the National League Player of the Week for the second straight time in a row. The All-Star was also named the National League Player of the Month for June.
McCutchen hit .583 (7-for-12), with three home runs and four RBI and led the Majors with a 1.333 slugging percentage. He became the first Pirates player to get the award twice in a single season since Jason Bay in May of 2006.
The humble McCutchen said he wasn’t sure why he was selected, despite the impressive numbers.
“Other players aren’t doing too well,” McCutchen said. “I don’t know. Feel like, we’ve got to pick somebody so pick Cutch. I don’t know. That’s the way I look at it. Pretty cool. Two weeks running. Let’s see if we can make it three.”
“I’m just trying to go out and play hard every single day, get a job done every single day. I’ve been doing a pretty good job this year. Not trying to do too much…I just go out and go play. I’m not trying to over think it. Don’t think about mechanics. Don’t think about things I need to do. Just go out and play as hard as I can.”
McCutchen leads the Majors with a .372 average after picking up two hits on Monday in Colorado. He entered game action leading the National League in total bases (209), slugging percentage (.651), OPS (1.074), batting average with runners in scoring position (.400) and batting average vs. lefties (.462). He is also second in the league in home runs (21) and hits (119), tied for second in RBI (64) and third in on-base percentage (.423).
Presley Returns to Pittsburgh
Outfielder Alex Presley was activated from the 7-day disabled list on Monday and batted leadoff for the Pirates. He singled in his first at-bat to right field then went hitless in his next three.
Presley was placed on the DL with a concussion on July 3. He made two appearances with Triple-A Indianapolis prior to the recall.
Joey Votto Out 3-4 Weeks With Knee Surgery
The Cincinnati Reds will have to go without their best hitter for the next month in a tight NL Central race. Joey Votto went down with a knee injury on June 29th, and had surgery on the knee today. The surgery was to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’s expected to miss the next three to four weeks, which will hurt the Cincinnati offense.
Votto led Cincinnati’s offense in average (.342), on base percentage (.465), and slugging (.604). Heading in to Monday’s games, his 1.069 OPS ranked second in the majors, trailing only Andrew McCutchen’s 1.074.