Of course, another nemesis, Marlon Byrd, tripled in the sixth on a ball that a diving Marte skidded just short of gloving and scored on a Joey Votto bounce out. But the Pirates, who apparently found their mojo in Clint Hurdle's gnome (the game give away) had another big inning left. They touched up Kevin Gregg with a barrage of singles, with Marte's plating one and Stew's two-out knock bringing home another pair of runs.
AJ left after seven, handing the ball to Jared Hughes. Jared left quickly (he took a liner on the thumb), and with one gone and two on, Tony Watson came in to douse the embers, the Bucs added one more in the eighth, and the Shark pitched an uneventful ninth.
Equally noteworthy: Cutch went 3-for-freakin'-4 last night, and hopefully that will become his slump-busting moment. The Pirates banged out 11 hits, took walks and played nice D with three DPs, one a runner tossed out by Cutch on a tag attempt. So it was a good win at long last, and just in time with the Cards coming to town.
Francisco Liriano and Michael Wacha meet in the series opener tonight.
|The ol' Cutch was back last night (photo: USA Today Sports)|
- AJ struck out Anthony Desclafani in the third to become the 41st pitcher in MLB history to record 2,400 career strikeouts. He also became the first Pirate to allow two or fewer runs in his first six starts since Bob Walk in 1988, who holds the team record at seven straigh. Oh, and he finally got a win; the six runs tonight were more than he had gotten in his first five starts combined.
- The fifth was the first time in 58 innings the Pirates had scored more than a run in a frame, and the first time in 45 innings that they had more than two hits in a frame. It felt so good that they went and did it again in the seventh.
- From ESPN Stats: the Pirates have failed to draw a walk in 10 games; no other MLB club has more than four no-walk games. But they took a free pass seven times last night, and lately been patient at the dish, so let's hope that trends...
- Charlie Morton will start tonight for the Altoona Curve with a 90 pitch limit.
- Lefty Clayton Richard has been freed from extended spring training and assigned to Bradenton. He got the start tonight, and went six innings of a 1-0 loss. He fared well, giving up four hits, a walk and an unearned run while K'ing five.
- The Pirates announced that Tyler Glasnow has a sprained right ankle, which doesn't sound all that bad, and they'll evaluate it daily. He shouldn't miss more than a start. But they offered no update on Nick Kingham, who felt elbow pain and was pulled from his start Wednesday.