When I saw that James McDonald was pitching, I got a smile on my face in the hopes that he could pitch well again. He wasn’t terrible. He just wasn’t all that good. Kevin Correia, on the other hand, was fantastic.
McDonald threw a lot of pitches and was pulled before completing five innings. The game was scoreless when Adrian Gonzalez successfully bunted against the shift leading off the fourth. McDonald’s error allowed him to reach second on the play. He moved to third on a grounder and would score on a wild pitch.
The fifth was McDonald’s undoing. He allowed four straight two out hits, with Gonzalez and Ryan Ludwick knocking in runs, before being pulled in favor of Sean Gallagher. Gallagher walked the first two men he faced with Yorvit Torrealba’s walk forcing in a run before striking out Will Venable to end the inning.
Chan Ho Park was on for the sixth inning and he was touched. Chris Denorfia doubled and scored on a dinger from Jerry Hairston Jr. Miguel Tejada singled and scored on a double from Gonzalez. Those tallies put San Diego up 7-0.
Up to that point, the Pirates hadn’t done much against Correia. Andrew McCutchen was HBP leading off the game and was then caught stealing. Pedro Alvarez singled with one out in the second but was erased on a double play grounder from Ryan Doumit. Correia had faced the minimum through six.
In the seventh, Correia gave up three straight one out singles to load the bases. Alvarez walked to force in a run and send Correia to the showers. Ernesto Frieri relieved and gave up a two run double to Doumit. Chris Snyder’s grounder brought home the fourth run of the inning. The Pirate got an unearned run in the 8th when Jose Tabata reached on a two out, two base error from Ludwick. Neil Walker singled him in.
San Diego got one back on a walk, a single and a ground ball RBI (from Chase Headley) in the bottom of the 8th off of Evan Meek. Heath Bell tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. McDonald allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings. He struck out six, walked one and gave up seven hits. Correia gave up just four hits in 6-1/3. He struck out seven and walked one.
Walker had two hits.
Pirate hurlers combined to strike out 11 Friars.
The bullpen continues to be a problem, yielding four runs in 3-1/3 IP.
The hitters only managed to get on base nine times – six hits, one walk, one HBP and one error.
Correia is now 3-1 against Pittsburgh, with two wins this season. McDonald had made four appearances against San Diego without a decision prior to this contest.
Gonzalez had four hits for the 18th time in his career. This was his fourth four hit game of 2010.
Bell has given up just one run in his last 8-1/3 IP and has converted 20 straight save opportunities.