Pittsburgh Pirates respond to McCutchen HBP, beat Braves 8-4
By Tyler Waite
The Pittsburgh Pirates used a five-run first inning to down the Atlanta Braves 8-4 on Saturday afternoon. In taking the second game of the three-game weekend series, the team had a source of motivation right from the start. In the bottom of the first inning, Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch in his left forearm that resulted in him leaving the game. The Pirates immediately answered, scoring five runs in the same inning, which would be all the runs the team needed to take the series.
Charlie Morton started for the Pirates and looked to rebound from his atrocious last start. His start in this game was better than that, but still not great, as he allowed four runs on 10 hits. His ERA now sits at 4.28 on the year. Morton also hit Andrelton Simmons with a pitch in the top of the second, arguably the Braves’ best player this season, possibly in response to McCutchen getting hit. Morton obviously wouldn’t admit to hitting Simmons on purpose after the game, but both benches were warned. Opposite Morton on the mound was Julio Teheran, who has struggled for much of this season. Teheran allowed six runs on nine hits and a walk.
After the five-run first inning, the Braves answered on a Nick Markakis single, giving the Braves their first run of the afternoon. In something you don’t see very often, the Pirates scored another run in the bottom of the fifth on a double steal when Pedro Alvarez took off for second and Starling Marte took home. The Braves cut the deficit to two on a bases-clearing double by second baseman Jace Peterson in the top of the seventh. But the Pirates would answer again, as Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer each hit their second RBIs of the game in the bottom of the seventh, and the final score would sit at 8-4.
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What Stood Out
Andrew McCutchen has taken a lot of pitches inside and has been hit by many pitches the past few seasons. It hasn’t been pleasant for the star player, and we all remember him getting hit in the back last summer, causing him to go on the disabled list for the first time in his career. It’s a difficult situation to be in for McCutchen as Major League Baseball hasn’t taken steps towards eradicating this kind of incident.
Starling Marte was 3-4 on the day with a RBI and three runs scored. Francisco Cervelli, Jordy Mercer, and Pedro Alvarez each had two hits and two RBIs. Charlie Morton had another rough outing, but it was nice to see him answer for McCutchen getting hit by a pitch. Morton has never been afraid to “return the favor.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates (42-32) face off against the Atlanta Braves (35-40) in the third and final game of the series as they try to go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon. Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.73 ERA) will start for the Pirates and will be opposed by Alex Wood (4-5, 3.44 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 PM.