PITTSBURGH — The Pirates snapped a four-game losing streak in front of the 1971 World Series Champions Tuesday night at PNC Park, beating the Baltimore Orioles, 9-3.
With the 1971 Pirates on hand, Pittsburgh (36-37) reversed its luck from Monday night’s 8-3 loss. Instead of giving up early runs, this time the Buccos jumped on the Orioles (33-38) early to build a 5-0 lead after three innings.
“All these guys have pitched a lot of innings in the last week and pitched extremely well and it (was) time on offense that we gave them a little breathing room,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. The Pirates had scored just seven runs in the previous four losses.
Tonight they got all the run support they could handle.
Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison led off the first inning with back-to-back singles and Garret Jones blasted a double to deep center field for a quick 2-0 advantage. Andrew McCutchen sacrificed Jones to third and Neil Walker followed with a sacrifice fly to right field for a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
Tabata was involved again in the second inning, doubling to center to score Ronny Cedeno for a 4-0 lead. McCutchen walked and Walker singled to center in the third inning to set things up for Xavier Paul, who hit a sacrifice fly to once again add to the Pirates lead, 5-0.
“We’re not a team that is going to hit three-run homers all the time,” McCutchen said of the way Pittsburgh scored its runs Tuesday night. “We’ve got to play small ball. Regardless of where we are in the lineup, where I am in the lineup, I’m going to continue to play the game the right way.”
Pirates starter James McDonald was effective through four innings, allowing three hits and holding the Orioles scoreless. He got in to trouble in the fifth, though, nearly letting Baltimore back in the game.
J.J. Hardy hit a solo home run to left field for the first Orioles run. Nick Markakis singled and Adam Jones homered again for Baltimore, this time to center field, to score three runs in three at bats to start the fifth, closing the gap to 5-3.
Chris Resop relieved McDonald later in the inning, pitching scoreless baseball for the next 1 1/3 innings to settle things down.
“(Resop) has done the job a number of times this season with runners on base, has come in right on right and get people,” Hurdle said.
McDonald’s final line was 4 2/3 innings pitched, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out three while walking four.
“Five innings, I don’t think, is good enough, I think I need to go deeper in games,” McDonald said. “I think a lot of times I get myself in trouble.”
Tony Watson and Jose Veras followed with perfect seventh and eighth innings, respectively, and the Buccos’ bats added some extra cushion to put the game far out of reach.
Paul added his second RBI of the game in the bottom of the eighth and Walker doubled in two more for a 9-3 lead. Tim Wood came in and finished off the game in the top of the ninth to seal the win.
Check back soon for a full recap including post-game quotes from players and managers from both teams.
Chris Gates | Bucs Blog