It’s hard to believe that a team that did so many things wrong for so many days in a row got so many things right tonight. It’s easy enough to see where things started going right tonight; right at the top of the lineup. Andrew McCutchen put on a leadoff hitting clinic tonight, drawing three walks, doubling, stealing three bases, and scoring three times. It’s impressive to see how many different ways he’s influenced games as a 22-year old rookie.
Perhaps most importantly tonight, the same Pirate team that’s been painfully undisciplined at the plate during their eight-game losing streak drew four walks from Jhoulys Chacin in his 2 2/3 inning outing and actually made him pay for them, scratching out five runs in the first three innings. Lastings Milledge made a couple nice catches in the field and had a big double, Garrett Jones had a couple hits and an RBI double, Ryan Doumit had two hits and score the first run, and Ronny Cedeno continued his surprising run of competence at the plate with the Bucs, singling in the important seventh run.
Most importantly, Jose Ascanio, Jesse Chavez, Evan Meek, and Joel Hanrahan nailed down the Rockies for three technically scoreless innings (Ascanio allowed an inherited runner to score) and held the lead for the Bucs. The Pirates’ bullpen certainly isn’t great and they’ve taken their lumps in the past week or so, but those four guys really aren’t bad relievers and even without a lefty like Grabow to split things up and create matchup advantages, they’re not nearly as bad as the recent losing streak indicated. It’s really good to see them hold on to a lead tonight; hopefully this will be what they needed to get back on the right track.