The rubber match in Cleveland this afternoon went to the Bucs, thanks in large part the offense and bullpen. Brad Lincoln made another start with Jeff Karstens still rehabbing, and once again got shelled. He gave up a run in each of the first two innings, but after Asdrubal Cabrera made an error to keep the inning alive in the third, Pedro Alvarez launched a three-run shot to RF to give the Pirates the lead.
Lincoln, of course, couldn’t keep the lead and gave up an RBI double to Shin-Soo Choo. That was it for him; after just 4.2 innings. Tony Watson got the last two outs of the inning, and then the Bucs broke it wide open in the fifth. Alex Presley tied it with a solo homer, and Neil Walker drew a one-out walk. Andrew McCutchen hit a ground-rule double, and Garrett Jones was intentionally walked. Casey McGehee hit in to what should have been a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play, but instead everyone was safe and two runs scored when Cabrera first booted the grounder, and then slapped it past the second baseman. He was charged with two errors on the play, and the Bucs took a 6-4 lead. After an Indians pitching change, Pedro struck again with his second three-run home run of the game, pushing the lead to 9-4. Pedro became the first Pirate two drive in six runs in a game since Andy LaRoche did it in September of 2009, and the first Pirate to do it on the road since Daryle Ward in August of 2004.
From there, it was just the Pirates bullpen finishing off the last few innings. Jared Hughes pitched two innings and gave up a run, while Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan pitched the eighth and ninth respectively. El Toro just missed his third homer of the day on a double off the wall, and finished the 3-4. With the 9-5 win, the Bucs took the series at Progressive Field. Pedro’s big day was great to see, and hopefully his success at the plate continues. The bullpen’s 5.2 innings were huge after Lincoln’s poor outing, and the off day on Monday should help them get some rest.
This week will be the last six interleague games of 2012, and then it’s back to National League baseball.
Pirates (34-31) – Indians (33-32)
Win: Watson (4-0)