The Pirates put together a beautiful game tonight on all sides. From James McDonald’s complete game to the 3 Pirates homers, the pitching remained one of the best in baseball while the offense came alive. In fact, the Pirates have scored the 4th most amount of runs in Major League Baseball this month.
JMac pitched a full 9 innings, throwing a career-high 120 pitches while only giving up 1 run (driven in by Ryan Doumit, of course) on 6 hits and 0 walks. He struck out 5 but received help from his defense as well on a lot of flyouts and groundouts. He mixed up his pitches well, and Clint Hurdle said the decision to leave JMac in was also influenced by the fact that JMac didn’t throw any long innings, was strong, and had a feel for what he was doing. Hurdle also gave some credit to JMac’s official personal catcher, Rod Barajas: “Very good job by Rod, he followed a very good game plan.” Barajas, as well as AJ Burnett, has been a huge influence on JMac this year.
Garrett Jones had quite a night on his 31st birthday, driving in the first run of the game in the 1st inning on an infield single and hitting a 2-run homer in the 7th. “Our offense is coming around,” Jones said after the game. Andrew McCutchen was 3-4 and just a homerun short of the cycle, driving in 3 runs anyway. Rod Barajas homered in the 6th, and Pedro Alvarez followed Jones’ homer in the 7th with a solo homer of his own.
Rod Barajas’ homer made it 6-1 Pirates. After the game, Rod said he was “just trying to get the ball away from Span. He covers a lot of ground out there.” Rod’s homer was to left center, which means he’s not pulling the ball quite as much anymore.
The Reds did not play tonight, so the Pirates gained half a game, putting them 2 games out of 1st place and 1 game back in the Wild Card race.