Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Game 22: Pirates vs. Braves Recap

The first month of the season came to an end on Monday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates came into the game with a record of 9-12 which isn't bad at all considering the fact that they hadn't scored over five runs in a game all season. That changed in a big way when the Pirates tacked another win onto their record with a 9-3 win over the Atlanta Braves.

James McDonald took the mound for the Pirates coming off of a start in which he took a no hitter into the seventh inning. No one had to worry about a no hitter in this game because Michael Bourn got a hit to leadoff the first inning. On top of that, Freddie Freeman hit a two run home run before McDonald even recorded an out. It could have been a three run shot but Bourn was caught stealing. McDonald settled down after that and pitched an excellent game. He ended up going 7 2-3 innings while only giving up one more run and tallying a career high of ten strikeouts.

If the continued good pitching wasn't good enough news, the bats came alive as well. The Pirates scored nine runs in the game. It prevented them for catching the record for most games to start a season without scoring more than five runs which is held by the 1972 Milwaukee Brewers who went 31 games before they broke that threshold.

Josh Harrison got the Pirates on the board first with a single to score Jose Tabata who has heated up after an extremely slow start. Andrew McCutchen also had a sacrifice fly in that inning to tie the game. The Pirates got the lead for good in the fourth inning when Pedro Alvarez hit a two run home run, off of a left handed pitcher no less.

Yamaico Navarro added a two run home run of his own in the sixth inning for his first in a Pirates uniform. Navarro had two hits and three RBI's in the game which were at least double what he had in each category for the entire season coming in.

The seventh inning was for nothing more than adding insult to injury. Tabata scored the seventh run for the Bucs on a passed ball during a McCutchen at bat. Then Neil Walker, who has raised his average to .278 after a very slow start, had an RBI single before Navarro notched his third RBI of the game on a fielder's choice.

Know what the funny thing about this offensive outburst is? The starting lineup in this game had four home runs combined coming into it and all four of them belonged to Alvarez. That makes the showing even more promising since it means that a lot of guys that started off slowly are starting to come around. If that happens with the way that the pitching has been, the month of May could be very exciting.

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