The Pittsburgh Pirates staked James McDonald to an early 1-0 lead against Brandon “all hard/all the time” McCarthy and the Arizona Diamondbacks. But BadMac quickly made the lead vanish, and allowed the Snakes to jump to a 4-1 lead.
Then GoodMac came out for the next four innings.
“The first inning wasn’t very good, but he was able to make some adjustments and fought the next four innings. So it was a nice step for him tonight, because there were games in the second half last season when, if he threw up four in the first, he wouldn’t be around much longer.” Clint Hurdle
Starling Marte and Neil Walker each drove in a pair of runs during the big five-run fourth inning, which was enough cushion for the Pirates to hang on for a 6–5 win over Arizona at Chase Field. Both Walker and Marte were behind in the count 0-2 when they provided the heroics.
James McDonald was able to overcome that rough first inning to get his first win. BadMac turned into GoodMac, and was charged with just those four runs on four hits and four walks over five innings. Pirates pitchers performed very well with Arizona runners in scoring position, holding the Diamondbacks to a paltry 2-for-11.
McCarthy threw plenty of strikes in his start for Arizona, but allowed six runs (four earned) on ten Pirates hits in his 6.2 innings pitched. Arizona skipper Kirk Gibson noted (as did Rock Wehner in the booth) that the Bucs got four big hits off his starter while facing 0-2 counts.
Gibson said that after McCarthy gave up the runs, “He got pissed off and he started using all three of his pitches, actually four of his pitches, and he was just much more effective.”
McCarthy retired nine of the final ten Pirates batters he faced. Too bad for him – the Bucs’ damage had already been done.
Garrett Jones was one of those Buccos inflicting pain by going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI for the Pirates.
“We’ve got some guys that can hit, we’ve been able to show that the last couple of nights.” Clint Hurdle
Jones’ RBI single in the first went off the glove of second baseman Aaron Hill.
McDonald walked Gerardo “Pirates Killer” Parra and Aaron Hill and Montero doubled them home. Jason Kubel crushed an oppo-bomb two-run tater to give the Snakes the 4-1 lead.
Marte ripped a bases loaded double to plate a pair. Walker singled up the middle to plate two more, and scored on a GFJ two-out hit. .
“We weren’t changing things up enough, I have to be smart right there and mix things up more.” Brandon McCarthy on his pitch selection. (Pirates fans weren’t complaining)
Mark Melancon worked a quick eighth and Jason Grilli allowed a two-out single before closing out the Bucs win with his third save of the year.
Defensive gem: Andrew McCutchen made a running, over-the-head snag of a Montero hit that was certainly destined for extra bases in the seventh inning with the bases full of D-Backs. The sac fly scored Alfredo Marte, but Jared Hughes was able to strand the rest by getting a Paul Goldschmidt flyout.
Pittsburgh relievers have pitched 26 innings and allowed six runs (2.08 ERA).