After the way the first three games of this series went the Pirates really needed something good to happen. Enter Edison Volquez. Volquez picked up the Pirates first complete game of the season, and second of his career, and had his away with a pretty good Cardinals lineup. It wasn't really all Volquez as the Pirates broke open a tie game with seven runs between the sixth and seventh inning and it was all gravy.
Volquez really is awesome to watch now. He does get into trouble from time to time but tonight he was able to get four double play balls and held the Cardinals to only six hits. He threw 114 pitches but was still able to pump it up to 96 on his 101st pitch. Not too bad. It was really nice not to have to worry about the bullpen or worry about a walk-off home run tonight after a pretty brutal start to the week. Granted the game was a runaway from the fifth inning on but for the first four innings Volquez was on point and got out of some small jams. It's great to see with Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole missing time.
The offense was there. After a brutal start to the series the Pirates collected 10 hits, walked six times and only struck out twice. They went 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position and were all over the tandem of Shelby Miller and Tyler Lyons.
Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen, Russell Martin, and Pedro Alvarez all had multiple hits on the night with Martin going 3-for-4 with a bomb. Gregory Polanco didn't have a hit but walked twice and scored both times and Ike Davis was the only starter not to reach base and he was pulled after only three at bats. Things were real good.
The Pirates started this series 4.5 games back of Milwuakee. They lost three games in the four game series and they are now 3.5 games back. All things considered this went a lot better than most would have expected if you said that the Pirates were going to lose the series. Going in I thought the Pirates would split the series and would have been fine with that. It sucks since Milwaukee got swept by Philadelphia so the Pirates could have gained a few more game but being a game closer than when you started is alright.
Three games with the Reds before the break. A series win would be pretty huge to end the "first half" of the year.