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Edinson Volquez excels in Pirates victory

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Justin K. Aller

The Pirates won 2-1 on Sunday behind a surprisingly terrific start from Edinson Volquez, who pitched 5.2 innings, struck out four, walked just one, and showed a very good curveball. The win clinched a series victory over the Cardinals. It's a bit early to be pointing that out, but if the two teams do end up tangling for the division lead this year, we're going to be glad the Bucs picked up wins early on. Meanwhile, in Chicago, A.J. Burnett walked six batters and allowed eight runs, four earned, in his second start of the season. It's incredibly early in the season, and it's possible none of this means anything, but Neal Huntington and Ray Searage have to be pretty happy with the way the day went.

Anyway, the Pirates struggled a bit with Adam Wainwright, as you'd expect. But Andrew McCutchen hit a one-out double in the fourth, and Neil Walker followed two batters later with a double to right to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. The Cards tied it in the sixth. Wainwright led off with a single, and Jon Jay brought home a run two batters later with a triple to what turned out to be an enormous gap between center and right. (It probably didn't help that Jose Tabata ran to the ball like a turtle carrying a bag of groceries up a flight of stairs; Andrew McCutchen eventually fielded it.)

The Pirates replaced Volquez with Tony Watson, who whiffed Matt Adams like it was nothing and continued being awesome in the seventh, when he got two more strikeouts and retired three good Cardinals hitters in nine pitches. Then Pedro Alvarez led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, and scored when Tony Sanchez hit a liner to about the same spot Jay had found the previous inning. Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli shut the Cardinals down in the last two innings.