Brian Burres joined the rotation pretty much because he was rested and, well, there really wasn't really anyone else at Indy left to replace Jeff Karstens. He spun 5-1/3 innings, giving up only a solo shot by Carlos Pena among his five hits, walk and five K's.
The Pirate bullpen showed its stuff today. Jason Grilli, Chris Leroux, Jose Veras and Hanny were tough. They didn't allow a runner in 3-2/3 frames while whiffing five.
Pena's 25th long ball in the second gave the Cubbies an early 1-0 lead. The Bucs took command in the third. Alex Presley tripled and came home on a liner barely high enough to clear Darwin Barney's mitt by Josh Harrison. Garrett Jones doubled him home, but the Bucs lost a likely run when the ivy ate the ball. Neil Walker, who had drawn a free pass behind Jay Hey, had to hold up at third on the ground rule two bagger.
The Bucs added an insurance run in the seventh when Presley bopped his second triple with one away. Harrison popped out, but JT picked him up with a big single to make it 3-1, the eventual final score.
But every silver lining has a cloud wrapped around it. McCutch got drilled in the hand batting in the first inning - everyone loves working him high and tight this year - and had to leave the game. But it doesn't appear to be a break; the early prognosis is that the injury is just a bruise that may cost him a game or two.
It's never easy for the Pirates. They banged out eight hits, but also went down on strikes ten times, which contributed mightily to the eleven stranded runners. The bats left two aboard four times and lost a chance at setting the table when Xavier Paul was thrown out trying to get to third from first on an infield single, to the left side yet.
But with the Bucco bullpen hitting on all gears today - Veras and Hanrahan K'ed four of the final six Cubs - it was enough. The game earned the first win of the season for Burres and Hanny's 33rd save.
Ross Ohlendorf takes the hill against Casey Coleman tomorrow afternoon.
- The King, Alex Presley, was on base four times against the Cubs with three hits and a walk, scoring twice. His two triples were the first time a Bucco has done that since June of 2009, when McCutch pulled off the same feat against the Braves, in 15 innings.
- Bad Brad Lincoln is multi-talented; he was called on to pinch hit today. Did OK, too, spanking a ball to the shortstop hole that Starlin Castro stopped with a very nice sliding backhand grab. Lincoln was a DH back in his college days at Houston.
- Jose Tabata was supposed to get the day off with a sore wrist, but was called into duty when McCutch went down in the first inning.
- Ryan Ludwick is at Indy, where he'll play four rehab games before coming off the DL. The Tribe is in the hunt for a playoff spot, so the FO is killing two birds with one stone by letting Ludwick play for them.
- Pittsburgh won its 63rd game today. They may not hit .500, but at least now they can't lose 100 games as they did in 2010 (105, to be exact).