One game does not wipe away what has been a rough month for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it may be the lift this team is looking for. The Buccos jumped on the St. Louis Cardinals early and often tonight in a 9-0 victory.
Starting pitching is what has carried this team through the first four months of the season and has been a part of the rough patch of August. Tonight it looked like a well oiled machine. It all started with James McDonald who threw seven innings, allowing two hits, while striking out six and walking one batter. That is the kind of stat line we saw out of J-Mac before the All-Star break and one that needs to repeat it self down the stretch.
The bullpen only needed two pitchers. Chris Resop, who gave up three hits, was able to work himself out of the jam came on in the eighth. Recently acquired Hisanori Takahashi finished offSt. Louis by striking out two batters in the ninth.
If baseball handed out game-balls, then tonight’s would have to go to Pedro Alvarez for his work in the field and at the plate. He would go 3-4 tonight, crushing two home runs, while collecting four RBI. He also flashed the leather on a diving play at third in the second inning, while turning a key double play in the ninth inning.
The entire starting lineup collected hits tonight, with Travis Snider, Andrew McCutchen, and Michael McKenry each collecting two hits. The Pirates hit total for the night was 14.
The play that could impact this Wild Card race took place in the second inning. After a Jose Tabata single to right field, Carlos Beltran was able to throw out Josh Harrison at the plate, but not before Harrison lowered the boom on catcher Yadier Molina. Molina left the game after this play and depending on the severity of the injury may be out for a while. I do not think it would be good for the Red Birds to be without a guy like that for a long period of time.
With the win tonight the Pirates are only 13 victories away from number 82. The rubber match of this three game series is set for tomorrow night at 7:05. Pittsburghwill send Wandy Rodriguez to the hill, while St. Louis will counter with Joe Kelly.
Record vs. Cardinals: 7-7
Record vs. N.L. Central: 32-23
Record at Home: 39-26
Overall Record: 69-60
Let’s Go Bucs!