Well, if you didn't know who Andrew McCutchen was before, sure as heck you're gonna know him now. The wiry Buc rookie hit three homers, had six RBI, and scored four runs in the Pirates 11-5 victory over the Washington Nats tonight.
The 26,855 fans wouldn't sit until a curtain call from McCutchen after his third long ball, and how long has it been since you've seen that in Pittsburgh? We can tell you that it's the first three-homer game since Aramis Ramirez's on April 8, 2001, at Houston, and the first three homer game at home since Darnell Coles did it on Sept. 30, 1987.
He had lots of help. The whole lineup, except for Ryan Doumit, had a hit, and four of them collected a pair. Lastings Milledge drove in two more runs, too. Hey, we know it's only bottom-feeding against the Nationals, but in two games, the Bucs have been 9-for-18 with runners in scoring position. That's a great start to the diaper dandy era.
Now if the hurlers would only get with the program. The Pirates, pitching with the lead almost all night, still walked six guys and fell behind in the count regularly. The Nats helped by going an abysmal 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position, and we suspect it wasn't all due to clutch pitching.
Still, the schedule smiled on the new look Bucs, and they're doing what they should, beating up on the worst team in baseball. Let's see if it gives them the confidence to compete during the last two months of the season.
-- Virgil Vasquez, thanks to some early scoring and a patient JR, lasted five innings for the win. It was bittersweet, though. He was shipped to Indy after the game, to be replaced by newly acquired ex-Cub Kevin Hart according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette. Steven Jackson will return to the Pirates to take his spot on the roster.
-- Must have been some meltdown that Pirate prospect Bryan Morris had for Lynchburg on Thursday. He was suspended indefinitely today because "Through various comments and actions during his outing the other night, he disrespected the umpires, his manager, his teammates and the organization," Player Development bossman Kyle Stark told DK of the Post Gazette.
That Jay Bay trade just gets better and better looking every day.
-- Here's how the new minor league guys are doing: At Indy, 1B Jeff Clement is 5-for-9 (.556) with two homers; SS Argenis Diaz is 5-for-28 (.179); and newly promoted OF Jose Tabata went 3-for-3 with two walks. In his first start, RHP Jose Ascanio lost 2-0, giving up two runs in 6-2/3 innings on six hits, a walk, and notching nine strikeouts.
At Altoona, highly touted Tim Alderson tossed 5-2/3 innings allowing one earned run on seven hits and struck out four in leading the Curve to an 8-4 win.