Pirates 9, Orioles 3: Offense Finally Comes For Bucs

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 21: Jose Tabata #31 of the Pittsburgh Pirates has Adam Jones #10 of the Baltimore Orioles home run ball caught by a fan in front of him in left field during the game on June 21, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It wasn't a particularly good start for James McDonald, who needed about a million pitches to get through the first four innings. The Pirates had a 5-0 lead by the time Clint Hurdle sent McDonald out to pitch the fifth. Given the lead and the fact that Charlie Morton only got through a couple innings yesterday, I could understand why Hurdle did that, but given McDonald's earlier shakiness and the fact that he tends to fall apart pretty early in his starts anyway, I thought the Pirates might be begging for trouble. 

Sure enough, McDonald allowed a solo homer to J.J. Hardy (which admittedly might not have been a problem if a fan in the front row in left field hadn't Bartman'ed it from Jose Tabata - see above), then a single by Nick Markakis and a homer by Adam Jones. 5-3. After McDonald put a couple more runners on base, Hurdle finally replaced him with Chris Resop, who bailed McDonald out. The Bucs' bullpen then got through four more scoreless innings.

Meanwhile, the Bucs offense racked up 15 hits against Jeremy Guthrie and the O's, scoring five runs in the first three innings and then tacking on one more in the seventh and three more in the eighth. Jose Tabata, Josh Harrison, Neil Walker, Ronny Cedeno and Michael McHenry all had two hits apiece, as the Pirates probably used the best lineup they could have with the players they have available right now (with Garrett Jones at first, Harrison at third and Xavier Paul in right). 

This game didn't reassure me regarding the starting pitching, which suddenly looks like it forgot to put on its bulletproof vest, and I'm beginning to get mildly annoyed with Harrison's defense at third - for the second straight day, he bungled a play when he tried to do this swiping-the-glove-upward thing. But hey, it's a win, and a convincing one, and the Pirates are back to within one game of .500.

***
My interview on David Todd's show might run tonight, or it might run tomorrow during the pregame. We'll see. ... Yeah, looks like it will be either pre- or postgame tomorrow.

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