ATLANTA (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Pirates grabbed an early lead and held on to beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Monday night.

James McDonald (7-4, 3.95 ERA) set a career high with nine strikeouts during 5 1-3 scoreless innings of work. McDonald allowed eight hits, but did not issue any walks.

Ronny Cedeno’s groundout in the 2nd inning allowed Andrew McCutchen to score from third base to open the scoring. With Pedro Alvarez on second base, Michael McKenry ripped a single to left field that plated the eventual game-winning run.

From there, the pitchers took over.

Atlanta’s Tim Hudson (9-7, 3.42 ERA) scattered five hits over seven innings. He struck out eight, walked three and allowed all three of the Pirates’ runs.

McCutchen’s RBI single in the sixth inning capped the scoring for the Pirates.

Chipper Jones provided Atlanta’s only run of the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning off of Daniel McCutchen.

Joel Hanrahan retired the Braves in order in the ninth for his 29th save of the season.

Alvarez was called up prior to the game and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

The win kept the Pirates in a first-place tie with the St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated the Houston Astros 10-5. The teams now hold a half-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central Division.

The Pirates and Braves will play the second game of their four-game series Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m.

Jeff Karstens (8-5, 2.28 ERA) is scheduled to take on Tommy Hanson (11-5, 3.05 ERA).


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