Coming off of an impressive win against the Reds, the Bucs began their season-long 11-game homestand against the Diamondbacks. Not that every game isn’t important for the Pirates, but this series has a big impact on the wildcard standings. Erik Bedard turned in yet another impressive start at home, and the Bucs went on to shut-out the D-backs. Including tonight, Bedard has an ERA of 2.38 at PNC Park.
The first three innings were pretty uneventful. Bedard gave up a leadoff double in the second, but pitched his way out of it to strand the runner at third. He also picked up the Pirates’ first hit, breaking up Wade Miley‘s perfect game with two outs in the third. The Bucs struck first in the fourth inning, when Cutch led off with a single to CF. Chris Young bobbled it, allowing Cutch to get to second, and when the SS missed the throw, he got to third. Some really risky baserunning, but it worked out. Gaby Sanchez followed with an RBI-groundout, making it 1-0.
Bedard really cruised from there. He went on to strike out five batters in seven innings, while only giving up two hits. Paul Goldschmidt doubled in the third, and also had Arizona’s only other hit – a single in the seventh. He tried to stretch it into a double, but Starling Marte made a beautiful play to get behind the ball and gun him down by ten feet at second base.
There was a chance to break the game open in the fifth when Rod Barajas singled and Clint Barmes doubled to start the inning. Bedard grounded out, and Marte walked. Josh Harrison, on his way to an 0-4 day, grounded into an inning-ending double play. Luckily, it didn’t come back to hurt the Bucs, as they went on to score three more runs in the eighth for insurance. Cutch led off with a single, followed by a Sanchez base knock on a hit-and-run. Neil Walker drove in a run with an infield hit, and Travis Snider drove in another. Barajas followed with a shallow flyout to CF, but Neil tagged and just beat the throw home to make it 4-0. Although the Diamondbacks were only charged with three errors, they easily could have been charged with four or five. But thanks to some home-field scoring, the Bucs got some cheap hits.
Jason Grilli and Chad Qualls closed out the game, needing just eight and twelve pitches respectively. The story of this win was pitching. Bedard, Grilli, and Qualls were so dominant, and the offense was able to scratch out a few runs in support. If they can do this more consistently (like they did in April and May), the wins will start piling up as we get into the home stretch of the regular season.
Pirates (62-46) – Diamondbacks (55-54)
Win: Bedard (6-12)
Loss: Miley (12-7)