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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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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Pirates Pregame: McDonald Still Searching for Consistency

James McDonald makes his third start of the 2013 season tonight with the St. Louis Cardinals visiting PNC Park, and one has to wonder which McDonald will be on the mound tonight for the Pirates. Will it be the James McDonald that was perhaps the best pitcher on the Pittsburgh staff during the first half of 2012? Or will it be the James McDonald that went through a full-on meltdown in the second half of 2012? So far in 2013 McDonald...

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