Garrett Jones has been huge for the Pirates all season, but his big swings of the bat on Tuesday night in San Diego gave the team a chance to battle back and win.
Jones entered game action having gone 48-for-151 (.318 avg ) with 10 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 35 RBI in his last 43 games. He belted out his first home run of the game in the sixth frame, for his 20th homer of the year.
The left-handed hitter came through once again for the club in the top of the ninth inning. After Andrew McCutchen singled, the first baseman deposited a two-run shot to center field to send the game into extras. The second long ball on the night tied his career-high 21. Jones also hit 21 in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2009.
The Pirates now have three players with at least 20 home runs (Also Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez). It’s the first time since 2008 that the Pirates have had three or more hitters with at least 20. Nate McLouth, Jason Bay and Adam LaRoche all topped 20 homers in 2008.
Pittsburgh, however, lost in extras after Daniel McCutchen, who was recalled today, gave up a walkoff home run in the 10th inning.
McPherson, Wilson Optioned, But Should Rejoin Soon
The Pirates optioned Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson on Tuesday after they both made their Major League debuts on Monday in San Diego in relief. But despite heading back to Triple-A Indianapolis after impressive debuts, both should be back with the club soon.
McPherson, who was scheduled to start yesterday, will be inserted back in the rotation. The right-hander, who allowed just a hit over two scoreless frames, could be promoted back to the bigs as a September callup.
Wilson on the other hand, will be moved into the bullpen to gain some more relief experience. The lefty tossed low-90’s in his debut, but hit high 90’s in relief last year at Triple-A. The move was to give Wilson more experience as he’s being considered a second left-hander for the ‘pen on the playoff roster.
Tony Watson Getting Back on Track
Tony Watson posted a 6.14 ERA last month. The left-hander since has gotten back on track, being scored upon twice in his last 13 appearances (12.1 innings). On the season, only 10 of his 52 inherited runners have scored.
“He’s taken the bulk of the work,” Manager Clint Hurdle said on Watson stranding inherited runners. “I think there was one point where he had more inherited runners than rest of the group together. Last year it was [Chris] Resop, this year, Tony’s fallen in that category.”
“He’s got confidence. He has the ability to go not only after left-handers, but with his command, he can go after right-handers. He’s still working. He’s a young player, young pitcher. Confidence is big, but he’s very mentally tough. He demands a lot out of himself and obviously he’s continuing to work to perfect his pitches and execution of them. But the one thing he does have in place is there’s no fear with Tony. Not that there’s no fear with the other guys, there’s not apprehension. He gives it his best shot, he lets it go and makes them swing the bat. He’s intense every time out there.”