Pittsburgh Pirates road trip report card for June 20-25
The bats arrived at Miller Park in style. Pittsburgh exploded for eight runs in the series opener, with McCutchen leading the way. Cutch went 2-5 with a two-run homer and a RBI single, continuing his torrid month of June.
The next night was just as good. Pittsburgh put up a six-spot in the top of the first and never looked back. Once again, Cutch played like a hero, going 3-3, hitting another bomb and reaching base in all four of his plate appearances. Jose Osuna also flexed his muscles, as his fifth jack of the campaign scored three of those six first-inning runs.
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Wednesday was frustrating, to say the least for the Bucco bats. McCutchen reached base three times and Josh Bell smashed his 13th home run of the season, Pittsburgh did not make the most of its opportunities. The Pirates left 18 men on base. Although that wouldn’t have mattered if not for Hurdle’s tactics, it is still troubling to miss that many chances to push runners across the plate.
Thursday featured more of the same. Despite Gregory Polanco’s fifth dinger of the season, the Bucs managed just two runs in a losing effort.
Although Pittsburgh couldn’t get a lot going against Adam Wainwright Friday night, they got the job done when Wainwright gave way to the bullpen. Freese and Jaso came through late, propelling the Bucs to a much-needed late win.
Home runs from Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison powered the bats to a busy Saturday night. The Bucs scored seven runs, which was much more than Cole needed in this romp.
Despite the losing effort in the series finale, the offense did hit St. Louis ace Mike Leake well, scoring four runs in six innings off Leake.
Overall, the McCutchen-led offense is hitting the ball well, and as with the starting pitchers, deserved better than just 4-3 on this road trip.
Overall grade: A-