Minor set the Pirates down in order in the first, and Michael Bourn singled to start the bottom of the first. Rod Barajas threw him out trying to steal second, but McDonald ended up walking Martin Prado. Freddie Freeman then launched a home run into right field, making it 2-0 Braves early. The Bucs got on the board in the third, with Barajas walking to lead off. After McDonald struck out (not sure why he wasn’t bunting), Jose Tabata doubled to put runners on second and third. Josh Harrison singled to left, scoring Barajas and putting runners on the corners. Andrew McCutchen hit a sac fly to center, plating Tabata and knotting it at 2-2. J-Mac struck out two in the third, bringing his strikeout total to 4 on the night. The offense continued in the fourth, with Yamaico Navarro hitting a one out single. Pedro Alvarez followed it up with his 5th homer of the year, making it 4-2.
Eric Hinske got a run back for Atlanta in the fourth, scoring Dan Uggla. From that point on, it was all Pirates. Yamaico Navarro made it 6-3 in the sixth on a two run homer, and McDonald continued to deal on the mound. The Bucs tacked on three more in the seventh, with Tabata scoring on a passed ball, and Neil Walker and Yamaico Navarro each driving in a run. J-Mac struck out the side in the seventh, and K’d his 10th batter in the eighth. He ended up going 7 2/3 innings, striking out ten and giving up three runs. Chris Resop got the last four outs of the game, although the ninth inning was a little shaky. Bucs and Braves split the series, and we’re on to May.
– The Bucs put up more than 5 runs in a game for the first time this year.
– All eight starting position players had a hit.
– Neil Walker picked up 3 hits, bringing his average up to .278.
– Pedro stayed hot, and his home run really sparked the offense. When he’s hitting well, the rest of the offense follows.
– The Pirates finish the first month of the year at 10-12 (same record through 22 games as last season), pretty good when you consider the teams they’ve played.
Star of the Game: James McDonald. McDonald had his second great start in a row, this time picking up a win. Striking out 10 in 7 2/3 is as good as it gets, and the offense finally picked up their starter.
Goat of the Game: Mike Minor. He gave up 7 runs in just 6 1/3 innings, and walked 3. He did strike out 9 Pirates, but his overall start wasn’t very good.
Pirates (10-12) – Braves (14-9)
Win: McDonald (1-1)
Loss: Minor (2-2)