Pirates knock off Reds, reach .500
Nursing a four-run lead Monday, Pirates right-hander James McDonald allowed the Cincinnati Reds to put their first two batters on base in the third and fifth innings.
A year ago, McDonald might have wilted under the pressure and allowed the Reds to rally. Not anymore.
“This is not the same James McDonald they saw last year,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
McDonald tossed eight scoreless innings and guided the Pirates to a 4-1 victory.
If he had been a bit more efficient — and if the temperature hadn't been in the high 80s — McDonald might have gotten a shot at his first career complete game.
“We took what we got from him and moved on,” Hurdle said. “Very strong outing from James today. It was another great step forward for him.”
McDonald (4-2) threw 103 pitches, gave up five hits and struck out five. He retired the final 12 batters he faced.
“One of the things I wanted to focus on this year is, when I get in a jam, being that same pitcher with the same mentality and focus,” McDonald said. “Go at ‘em. Keep the team in the game. I got in that mode.”
McDonald's outing turned on the third and fifth innings. Each time, the Reds had runners on first and second with nobody out and the top of the order coming up.
McDonald snuffed both rallies before sluggers Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce could get to the plate.
“At times, I was a little mentally weaker last year,” McDonald said. “When certain guys got up, I would think about, ‘What if this happens? What if that happens?'
“Now, I don't care. It's a hitter up there and I've got a job to do: to get him out. Whoever it is up there, I go right after him. My mental approach to the game is different. It's better.”
The Pirates are 24-24, just three games behind the first-place Reds.
“I like the direction we're headed,” Hurdle said.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (2-3) lasted four innings and gave up eight hits. The Pirates scored four runs off him, all of them coming with two outs.
In the first inning, the Pirates caught a break when catcher Ryan Hanigan couldn't hang onto Pedro Alvarez's foul tip. Instead of striking out, Alvarez got another chance and crushed an opposite-field double off the left field wall, missing a home run by inches. Neil Walker scored.
Arroyo then went inside with an 0-2 pitch to Garrett Jones, who lined an RBI double to right.
In the second, Walker drilled an RBI double into the right fielder corner. Alvarez began the third with a double and scored on Rod Barajas' single to right.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7811.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pa. Treasurer McCord resigns without explanation, to leave Feb. 12
- Pitt’s 2015 schedule includes 5 road games in 1st 7 games
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- BNY Mellon is putting iconic Citizens Bank Tower up for sale
- Beaver County man arrested in 24-year-old Clinton County cold case
- Beer spills onto Route 22 when delivery truck collides with coal truck
- Wintry mix of rain, freezing rain and snow bearing down on Pittsburgh area
- Capitals dominate overmatched Penguins in win at Verizon Center
- Police stop car in Beltzhoover, find body in back seat
- UPMC, Highmark disagree over payment of medical claims for children
- Audit cautions officials about lax cash-handling policies at Schenley Park skating rink