Wandy Rodriguez has now pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings over his past 2 starts. The top of the lineup came alive tonight, Andrew McCutchen is returning to form, Brock Holt is making his mark, and the Pirates beat the Astros, 6-2.
Wandy gave up a hit and a walk in the 1st inning, but he struck out 2 and got a forceout to end it. He then gave up just 3 more hits over the rest of his 7-inning outing. The walk in the 1st inning was the only walk he gave up, and he struck out 7 Astros batters. “He was very rhythmic, very on-tempo, very in-sync,” Clint Hurdle said. He also mentioned Wandy’s ability to mix up pitches tonight. Wandy lowered his ERA to 3.71 and improved to 10 and 13. “I had my changeup very good today, and I used it a lot,” Wandy said after the game. “I felt very comfortable with all my pitches, and later [in the count] I used whatever pitch I want.” Chris Resop came in to pitch the 8th inning, and he lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits. Brett Wallace doubled to drive in Matt Dominguez before Resop was replaced by Tony Watson. Watson allowed Wallace to score on a Chris Snyder pinch-hit single before getting Jason Castro to fly out to end the inning. Joel Hanrahan pitched the 9th inning to finish off the win, walking 1 and striking out 1.
Two Pirates batters had 4 hits each tonight: Andrew McCutchen and Brock Holt. “They showed up bigtime for us,” Hurdle said. “Stayed on balls, pushed the ball around different parts of the field, hit different pitches.” Cutch reclaimed his spot at the top of the National League in batting average, but even more important was the fact that he drove in 3 of the Pirates’ 6 runs. “It’s all about having that feeling and getting that feeling back,” Cutch said. “That’s what I’ve been searching for. I’m slowly starting to get that feeling back.” Holt was 4 for 5 and scored 2 runs. He’s batting .462 at the beginning of his Major League career. “Fear nothing, respect everything,” Hurdle said. “That’s kind of the way he’s playing.” Hurdle compared Holt to Larry Bowa but said to “just be Brock Holt, keep going out there and swinging it.”
“I tried to go out and keep doing what I’ve been doing, stick with the same approach,” Holt said. “I actually think this is my first 4-hit game of the year, so to have it in the big leagues is nice. But we also got the win; that’s all that matters.” He also humbly pointed out Cutch’s 4 hits and that it was a team effort, not his hits, that won the game. How does he feel about all this? “It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m just enjoying the moment and letting it all sink in.”
Garrett Jones was 1 for 3 and drove in another run. “The top of the order are really doing a good job,” Cutch said. The only other Pirates batter with a hit was Clint Barmes, but they made the hits count today and took advantage of the Astros’ errors. Pedro Alvarez reached base on an error in the 5th inning, and Cutch and Jones scored on the play. Just having Cutch back, him having that feeling back, is huge for this team. He’s the leader of this team, the motivator, the team’s MVP. When he’s playing well, good things happen.
Tomorrow is the series finale. It’s also Rod Barajas’ 37th birthday. Kevin Correia (9-8, 4.40 ERA) will face Fernando Abad (0-2, 4.83 ERA).