Pirates Beat Braves 4-2 to Complete Successful Homestand

The Pittsburgh Pirates getting out to a 10-8 record to start 2013 would be far less impressive if half of those games were against, say, the Marlins, Padres and Astros. Strength of schedule plays a larger part in early-season stats and records than many of us want to recognize. Yes, the Texas Rangers are 12-6, but they have played 12 games against the Mariners, Cubs and Astros. So the Pirates capping off a 7-2 homestand is made even...

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Pirates Win Thanks to an Improved McDonald and Strong Lineup Construction

Tonight wasn’t the type of game you’d normally expect the Pirates to win. It’s not the type of matchup you’d expect any team to win. On one side you had the best team in baseball, with a pitcher who entered the game with 20.1 shutout innings to start the season. On the other side you had a team that has been very inconsistent this year, with a pitcher who has had low velocity to start the year and was hit hard...

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Pirates Notebook: First-Pitch Strikes Key for Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez returned from injury Friday for the Pittsburgh Pirates and promptly mowed down the hottest team in baseball. Rodriguez was sharp from the┬ábeginning and allowed just one hit in seven innings and combined with Mark Melancon and Vin Mazzarro to face the minimum of 27 batters in the Pirates’ 6-0 win against the Braves at PNC Park. Of the 21 batters Rodriguez faced, he either threw a first-pitch strike or got the...

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Locke Struggles with Consistency in Pirates Loss

Prior to Thursday’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves, Clint Hurdle talked about how the back end of the starting rotation knows there is competition on the way, and after Jeff Locke’s performance in a 6-4 Atlanta win the Pirates manager elaborated on just what it is Locke needs to improve on. “The one thing that continues to I think just challenge him is his overall consistency,”...

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Pirates Notebook: Top of the Lineup Heating Up

Wins are for the most part an antiquated statistic in baseball, but sometimes a win can carry a bit of significance. A.J. Burnett got his first one of the 2013 campaign Wednesday night at PNC Park, but that was not what people will remember about the game. Burnett not only got strikeout No. 2,000 for his career, he flirted with perfection and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a two-out double to Carlos...

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A.J. Burnett: Anatomy of a One-Hitter

So many events have to go right for a no-hitter to happen. We sometimes lose sight of that, living in this Golden Age of 23 no-hitters in the last six years. Even with no-hitters becoming almost as common an occurrence as Clint Barmes home runs, they still require a potent combination of talent and good fortune to come true (you know, like a Clint Barmes home run). When looking at A.J. Burnett taking a perfect game into the 6th inning...

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