Photo by Mark Olson

After getting six days of rest and throwing two sides since his last start on Friday against San Diego, the Pirates were looking for James McDonald to take a big step forward towards getting back on track. The right-hander did just that in St. Louis facing a tough Cardinals lineup, and scattered just two hits over six shutout frames.

"This was a huge step forward for us. We’re going to need him to get something done this year," Manager Clint Hurdle said.

McDonald worked fast, and looked sharp in 24th start of the season. He had allowed at least four runs in each of his six starts prior, and was able to toss his best outing in the second half of the season.

Between starts, McDonald was able to reap the benefits of a second side session. The righty said that r...

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