Back-to-back wins means one thing. One more game and it's a winning streak. I know you may think that winning two games in a row is a winning streak, but you are wrong if you think that. Winning two games in a row is consecutive wins, winning three is what you call a winning streak. Not really sure how this is supposed to feel. It has been so long.
The Pirates did it again and most of it was due to the pitching staff and Andrew McCutchen.
At the start of the game things were going well. Erik Bedard was dealing in the first inning, came out for the second inning and got hurt. I mean of all the things we shouldn't be shocked about it was Bedard getting hurt but it really doesn't look that bad as he was only suffering from back spasms/ He had this problem once before in his career and was back to pitch in nine days. I don't expect him to miss much time, at all.
With Bedard gone after only one inning the pen really had to work in overdrive to get though the game. Five different relievers went on to pitch the other eight innings and only gave up four hits and struck out 11. I call that being successful.
Brad Lincoln got the most work going three innings and only throwing 40 pitches before being pinch hit for. I know before the season I was pretty hard on Lincoln for not pitching well and pretty much just having average stuff. This year he has been really good. He lowered his ERA to 0.63 and in the role of spot starter and long man he really excels. His fastball is up to 94 and sometimes 95 and his breaking stuff seems much better than a year ago. I am more than glad to be wrong about this and if Bedard has to miss some starts I feel good about Lincoln taking his spot.
Jared Hughes pitched two innings striking out four and only giving up a single hit. Things got a little murky later with Juan Cruz and Jason Grilli as they combined to walk three batters but also got out of some big jams to keep the Pirates ahead. Joel Hanrahan came in and earned his sixth save and didn't look good doing so but he did give Ryan Zimmerman to strikeout with the tying run on second.
McCutchen is locked in. Pay from WHYGAVS had a post up today that he was ready to break out and break out he did. He went 4-for-4 and in his first three at bats he singled and in the final one he hit a bomb to left field. After struggling some the last couple of weeks and battling with the flu he has his average up to .330. Ho hum.
The third inning was really as good of inning that the Pirates have had all season. They get runners in scoring position with a string of base runners only to score one run or none. After Josh Harrison flew out Lincoln struck out but reached first base after the ball got away from Wilson Ramos. Tabata then singled through the right side to set up first and third with one out and then Neil Walker and McCutchen singled back-to-back to score a couple of runs. Then, with two outs, Casey McGehee singled to the shortstop and McCutchen scored from second base. Scored from second base on an infield single. No idea what shortstop Ian Desmond was doing, but I will take it. Not really good base running by McCutchen but it worked out. I will allow it.
Really a good win for the Pirates. They are starting to win more of these types of games. They are getting good pitching (only gave up four hits tonight) and the offense is getting better (eight hits) so they are able to win games like this.
A win tonight was really nice. They have to face Stephen Strasburg tomorrow night and it isn't going to be easy but knowing they already have the series win over a pretty good team makes it all the better.