One of the best things about the Pirates thus far in 2012 is that when the play a bad baseball team, they don’t mess around with them. The Twins are a pretty bad team this year and the Pirates took advantage of that from the outset of this one. When the Twins tried to fight their way back into it, the Pirates slammed the door shut.
This game got off to a weird start when Josh Harrison hit a hard fly ball to deep left field and Josh Willingham tried to make a leaping catch at the warning track, only to have the ball riccochet off of his chest and over the short left field wall at PNC Park. I think that in any stadium with a wall taller than six feet, that ball ends up being maybe a double off of the wall or Willingham’s able to finagle a catch. In PNC, though, the Pirates had a 1-0 lead. The Pirates couldn’t add on to that lead for a few innings, but Kevin Correia did a nice job keeping the Twins mostly off of the basepaths until Josh Harrison singled in the fifth and stole second. That prompted a walk of Andrew McCutchen, so Harrison stole third (our old friend Ryan Doumit was behind the plate, but Harrison was getting HUGE jumps on Scott Diamond) and scored on a Casey McGehee sac fly. Correia got into trouble in the sixth, but Clint Hurdle had an appropriately quick hook tonight and Tony Watson struck out Doumit with the bases loaded to escape the jam.
That set the stage for the bottom of the sixth, where Pedro Alvarez singled and for some reason, ROOT chose to switch to a behind-the-hitter view with Clint Barmes at the plate. Just as I was about to grumble, Pedro Alvarez took off on a hit-and-run, and Barmes blasted a ball into the right center gap. The camera behind the plate showed the whole play unfold beautifully, with Alvarez moving surprisingly quickly around the base paths while Barmes’s hit rolled into the gap. The Pirates tacked on another run when Barmes scored later in the inning. The Twins tried to mount a comeback against Juan Cruz and cut the lead to 4-2, but Andrew McCutchen popped a two-run homer inside the left field foul pole to end all thoughts of a comeback.
For the third straight game, the offense lead the way. Correia made a decent start and Tony Watson and Chris Resop did nice relief work tonight, but the real story was the offense from Harrison, McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez (two hits and a walk), and Barmes (3-for-4 night to get himself to the Mendoza line for the first time all year). Since being dominated by Justin Masterson on Friday, the Pirates have scored 25 runs in three games. A guy could get used to this.