Riding the longball to a series win

Despite 0-for’s from both Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker today, the Bucs were able to out-slug the Rockies to bail out James McDonald and take the series in Denver.

McDonald had a pretty rough outing.  The score was 3-0 Colorado before he could even record an out, thanks to home runs by Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez.  Pedro Alvarez smacked a solo shot in the second to get a run back, but the Rockies added two more to make it 5-1.

But of course, no lead is safe at Coors Field, and the Bucs worked some two-out magic in the third.  Garrett Jones hit a three-run bomb to get within a run, and Clint Barmes drove in two more after an error, HPB, and single.  Even with the 6-4 lead, J-Mac just couldn’t settle in, and should have been taken out.  With the day off tomorrow (today), Hurdle shouldn’t have hesitated to go to the bullpen.  But alas, he wanted McDonald to qualify for the all-important win, and he pitched through the fifth.  The Rockies added a run on an Andrew Brown RBI-single, but that would be it for them.

The Bucs’ offense ensured J-Mac would get a win when Casey McGehee hit a two-run bomb and Rod Barajas hit a solo shot.  Brad Lincoln pitched two scoreless innings, and Jason Grilli came in for the eighth.  He allowed two baserunners, only recording one out, so Tony Watson had to come in for the last two.  He got CarGo to ground-out softly and got a big K to end the inning.  Joel Hanrahan pitched an unreal ninth to slam the door as the Bucs won 9-6.

It’s a pretty good sign when the offense can put up 9 runs without ANY production from Cutch or Walker.  With the 0-for, Neil’s 17 game hitting streak came to an end.  The Reds lost later on in the day, so the Bucs and Reds are tied for first in the division.

Pirates (51-40) – Rockies (35-56)

Win: McDonald (10-3)
Loss: Reynolds (3-1)
Save: Hanrahan (26)

BOX SCORE

Go Bucs

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