Ninth-inning rally comes up short for Pirates
Andrew McCutchen believes the Pirates' bats will come around, and he doesn't think it will take as long as it did last season for the team to get into an offensive rhythm.
For now, however, the Pirates are struggling, and a ninth-inning rally Thursday afternoon couldn't save them or James McDonald from a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.
“It's pretty much the same team as last year, with the exception of a few guys,” McCutchen said. “We've been here, and we know what we're capable of doing, and we know what we did last year. You learn from those things, and shame on us if we do the same thing. I think we'll just continue to keep working hard, and things will go in our favor.”
The Pirates scored a total of six runs on 13 hits in the three games against the Cubs, who took the first series of 2013.
They had just one hit through eight innings in Thursday's finale, as the Cubs clung to a 1-0 lead, thanks to a third-inning RBI single by Starlin Castro. Then Nate Schierholtz hit a two-out, two-run homer to center field off Jared Hughes in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the inning, Starling Marte smacked a leadoff single to left field off closer Carlos Marmol. Russell Martin walked, and McCutchen singled to left to score Marte. Gaby Sanchez hit the ball past diving first baseman Anthony Rizzo to bring Martin home and make it 3-2.
With McCutchen on third, Pedro Alvarez struck out, and Neil Walker grounded into a double play. McDonald (0-1), who allowed just one run and two hits in seven innings, took the loss. Cubs left-hander Travis Wood (1-0) got the win. Marmol recorded his first save of the year.
The Pirates also had a chance to win in the ninth inning on Opening Day but fell short.
“We need some guys to slow down in the batter's box,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We're doing a little bit of swinging at balls and taking strikes. We found a way in the two games we lost to get not just the tying run but the winning run to the plate. We just have to start doing the offensive thing a little earlier.”
The Pirates produced virtually nothing offensively in the first eight innings.
Sanchez walked to lead off the second inning, but Alvarez, batting fifth, grounded into a double-play. Clint Barmes hit a one-out double in the third, but that was it for base runners until McDonald walked with one out in the sixth.
McCutchen reached first on an error by third baseman Luis Valbuena in the seventh inning and stole second and third, giving him four stolen bases this season. But Sanchez struck out swinging, Alvarez popped out to Rizzo and Walker struck out looking.
“There are going to be series throughout the year that you wish you had more offense and series where you wish you had more pitching,” Pirates catcher Russell Martin said. “Obviously this series was a series where we wish we scored more runs. But we'll go to L.A., get some nice weather in and start swinging the bats like we're able to.”
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.
- Steelers are banking on linebackers to improve strength of defense
- Runner's heart attack, variety of ailments make busy day for marathon medics
- Famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson announces White House campaign
- Gorman: They ran for Erica who lived for the marathon
- Kaboly: Steelers fill biggest needs by drafting defensive players
- Kennywood to review park security following fight
- Rostraver man charged with killing sister’s boyfriend, dumping body at gas well site
- Uptown neighborhood in Pittsburgh on verge of breakthrough
- Heyl: Letting parents keep kids willy-nilly out of class an educational fiasco
- Highlands High School post-prom raffle criticized
- Pitt coach Narduzzi goes home for induction into Youngstown coaches hall of fame