The Pirates faced another struggling pitcher tonight, and this time they made him pay. Shaun Marcum lasted only four and a third innings, and Wandy Rodriguez gave up just one run as the Pirates won game two of the four-game series, 7-3.
When Marcum struck out the first two batters he faced and then got Andrew McCutchen to fly out, it looked like he may have found his groove. It didn’t last, however, as the Pirates pounded out 6 hits in the 2nd inning. “[Marcum] is gonna compete,” Clint Hurdle said after the game. “We were able to regroup and take advantage of it.” Garrett Jones led off with a double, Jose Tabata followed with a single, and Pedro Alvarez drove in Jones with another single. Tabata was tagged out at 3rd, but a Michael McKenry double moved Pedro to 3rd, and a John McDonald HBP loaded the bases. Wandy Rodriguez grounded into a forceout, scoring Pedro. McDonald broke up a potential double play with a hard slide into 2nd, and Starling Marte followed with a single that scored the Fort. A Jordy Mercer single loaded the bases again, but Cutch flied out again to end the inning. However, the Pirates now had a 3-0 lead after just 2 innings.
The 3rd and 4th innings both saw the Pirates make 3 quick outs, but then Starling Marte led off the 5th inning and was hit by a pitch. Jordy Mercer singled, Cutch popped out, and Garrett Jones came to the plate. He hit a ball that bounced off the top of the wall in right. Marte and Mercer scored, and Jones stood at 3rd with a triple… until Clint Hurdle came out and asked for the play to be reviewed. “All I can do is go out there and ask them to review it,” Hurdle said. The umpires came back out with Joe West twirling his finger in the air, and Jones jogged home with the Pirates now leading 6-0. “[Marcum] just tried to mix it up, and I kind of guessed right and hit it just enough to get out,” Jones said after the game. After a Tabata flyout and a Pedro single, Marcum was done for the day.
Wandy didn’t have his sharpest outing, but he “was able to compete,” as Hurdle put it. “He was able to get through innings and leave runners on base.” Wandy worked out of a few jams before allowing the Mets’ first run in the 5th inning when Anthony Recker led off with a homerun. The Mets followed that with a double, but a strikeout, popout, and groundout ended the inning. “The sixth was [Wandy’s] most crisp inning for me,” Hurdle said. After allowing a leadoff single to David Wright, Wandy got the next three batters to ground out.
Vin Mazzaro pitched a perfect 7th inning and scoreless 8th, allowing just one hit. Gaby Sanchez pinch hit for Mazzaro to lead off the 9th inning and walked. Marte followed that with a single, his third hit of the night, and Mercer walked to load the bases. Andrew McCutchen grounded into a double play, but Gaby scored on the play. Jones grounded out to end the inning.
Jose Contreras was given the ball to start the 9th inning. After a groundout, the second batter of the inning, Jordany Valdespin, homered, making the score 7-2. Contreras gave up another hit and a walk before getting one more out. An RBI single by Andrew Brown made the score 7-3, and Contreras was done. Jason Grilli was brought in to get that one last out, and he did for his 14th save of the season. “We needed to win the game,” was Hurdle’s explanation of bringing Grilli into the game with 2 outs and 2 runners on.
It worked, and thanks to that and 12 Pirates hits. Marte and Jones each had 3 hits, and Pedro (.193) once again had a two-hit night. Mercer also had 2 hits. “I think it boosts our confidence a little bit to get the offense going and score some runs,” Jones said.
The Pirates are now 19 and 16, half a game behind the 2nd-place Cincinnati Reds. Francisco Liriano will likely make his Pirates’ debut as tomorrow’s starting pitcher. He’ll face Jon Niese (2-3, 4.66 ERA).