Last night, with Pirate legends Bill Virdon and Bill Mazeroski on the bench as “Honorary” coaches (though Clint Hurdle insists they’re there to coach, not watch), the Pirates downed the Minnesota Twins 7-2, spoiling Ryan Doumit’s return to PNC. The Buccos were led by Josh Harrison, whose first-inning-Josh-Willingham-aided homer (see video) staked the Pirates to a lead they would not relinquish. J-Hay would finish the night 3-for-5, with 3 runs scored and 2 stolen bases (!), the second being the front end of a double-steal with Andrew McCutchen, who ended up 3-for-4 with a HR, SB and 2 RBI for the game.
The Twins started lefty Scott Diamond on the mound, who entered the game with a 5-2 record and a 2.13 ERA, but got smacked for 8 hits and 4 ER in his 5.1 IP, as the Bucs continued to feast on left handed pitching.
Kevin Correia started for the Pirates, and ended up with his first win in PNC in nearly a year – since June 22, 2011. Correia walked one and struck out two, and only allowed the Twinkies four hits over his own 5.1 IP, inducing 12 groundouts against 2 flyouts (!) in the win. He tired in the sixth, leaving two men on before making way for Tony Watson, who got Justin Morneau to pop out to shallow center before issuing a walk to load the bases. Watson then whiffed ex-Pirate Ryan Doumit to end the mini-threat.
“That was huge right there,” Correia said of Watson’s work. “To have him come in and pick me up with what was still a small lead was huge. Then we scored some more runs, and that kinda insured my win.”
Did KC secure another start in the Pirates rotation with this outing? Time will tell. We’re still not very high on Correia, but until Jeff Karstens (who went went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits and a walk, while fanning five, with 59 of 78 pitches for strikes in a rehab start at Altoona) returns, the Pirates SP focus is on whether or not Brad Lincoln will get another start.
#AlwaysSmooth Clint Barmes went 3-for4, but the only really solid ball he hit was the double to the right-center gap, which plated Pedro Alvarez, scoring from first on a successful hit-and-run play that was shown from a fantastic angle by ROOT Sports, almost surely by accident. El Toro went 2-for-3, with an opposite-field double off of lefty Brian Deunsing that missed being another PedroBomb™ by about 6 feet.
For anyone who watched the game, though, the real tension was on the bench, with James McDonald exacting bubblegum revenge on Brad Lincoln in retaliation for this:
JMac affixed a cup to the top of Lincoln’s cap with the aid of some gum, which went unnoticed by Lincoln for some time, and became a running series of cutaways by ROOT to see how long it would stay there (it ended up being more than an inning):
This resulted in a post-game twitter exchange between Lincoln & McDonald, with Lincoln declaring that JMac “may have just started a war he can’t win! He got me tonight though. #revenge” and McDonald replying “you got me first”
Stay tuned – the “War Of The Wads” will undoubtedly continue.