The Pirates finally got back on the right track and while the Rockies had the big inning last night it was the Pirates that were able to score a big inning and got a great outing from Erik Bedard to give themselves a chance to win the series in the day game tomorrow.
Things didn't really start out all that great for the Pirates as they gave up a single run in each the third and fourth inning thanks to some pretty poor defense by Alex Presley in left field who just completely missed a ball right at him and by Drew Sutton in right field that turned a pretty routine double into a triple.
The offense wasn't really firing on all cylinders the first time through but that all turned around the second time around. It really started as it always does, with Andrew McCutchen as he hit, check that, destroyed a baseball 448 feet to left field to give the Pirates their first run. The next half inning the Pirates put up a four spot where they sent nine batters to the plate and had four hits, all of which came with two outs. The Pirates scored the first run on an Alex Presley ground out then got the next three with two outs. Really fun to see the Pirates come up with a few big hits at a crucial time.
The Pirates added on an insurance run in the eighth inning as Michael McKenry continued to swing a good bat in minimal playing time with a double and the was all she wrote.
There were a lot of good things about the game and it pretty much all starts with Erik Bedard. Bedard went 6.2 innings and gave up only two runs, one earned, and struck out four. He did walk four guys and give up eight hits which makes you wonder how how he only threw 94 pitches but I think the line makes he start look a lot worse than it really was. It was important for Bedard to have a bounce back start after really struggling for much of the year and that is exactly what he did. He worked in on righties more and even though he made some mistakes he was able to keep hitters honest and didn't let them make good contact. Hopefully this is what we can see going forward and if we do that bodes well for the Pirates in the division/playoff hunt.
Clint Barmes didn't have a hit on the night but he had an outstanding defensive game. All season people, myself included, have been bashing Barmes for his weak offense to the point of wanting him cut in some instances (not what I ever wanted, but some did) but his defense this year has been nothing short of outstanding. The plays he is making on a night in, night out basis are really difficult plays that he makes look routine. While he might not have the quickest hands at the plate I am mesmerized by his hands and the quickness he displays on turning double plays and getting rid of the baseball quickly. It might not be fun to watch him hit but it really is a joy to watch him play defense.
So, McCutchen is really, really, good at baseball. It is actually fun to look at Cutch going 2-for-4 and say "that's it?" I mean that is basically what it comes down to as this guy has just been killing the baseball all season. At the beginning of the year I would had been pretty happy with a 20-25 home run season and he already has 22 home runs through 90 games. Wow. Just unreal what he is doing right now.
Neil Walker continues his tear as he had a 2-for-3 night to raise his average to .302 and now has a .370 OBP. I didn't expect anything like this from Walker but he is on an extended hot streak and it has carried him a long way this season. I see Walker as more of a .270 hitter and it is really impressive to watch what he is doing considering he doesn't have a set spot in the lineup. One night he is hitting in the two spot and the next he is fifth but it doesn't matter, everything is working. Just great to watch.
I don't really want to dwell on bad things after a nice win but the Drew Sutton experiment needs to end in the outfield. He misplayed another baseball in right field and for a utility infielder to be thrown into right field you need to have a pretty hot bat to do that and in the last nine games before tonight he was hitting .171. Can't justify putting him in the outfield.
Pirates will have a day game tomorrow for the final game of the series that starts at 3:10 p.m. Getting a series win will remove any thoughts from the game on Monday and everything will be alright.