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The Pittsburgh Pirates clinched their series against last-place Minnesota Twins on Thursday night with a comfortable 9-1 win. James McDonald was fabulous yet again for the Bucs, pitching his first career complete game. McDonald, who's had an incredible season striking out the opposition, went nine strong innings and threw 120 pitches. He allowed just one earned run on six hits and issued no walks.
The Bucs' offense gave McDonald an early cushion, jumping on Twins' starter Liam Hendriks. The big hit came in the second inning when Andrew McCutchen ripped a bases-clearing double to score three and make it 4-1. Three straight long balls closed out the scoring at 9-1. Rod Barajas smashed a two-run shot to left center in the bottom of the sixth and Garrett Jones followed that with a two-run blast of his own just one inning later. Later that inning, Pedro Alvarez finished things off with a solo homer to right to put Pittsburgh ahead by eight. It was an impressive night at the plate, as the Bucs did not draw a walk but jumped all over the Twins' offerings.
The Pirates complete a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins Thursday night, with Liam Hendriks taking on James McDonald at 7:05.
This is by far the best pitching matchup of the series for the Pirates. In fact, it might be their best pitching matchup of the season. McDonald is in the midst of a breakout campaign, and Hendriks — well, if things hadn’t gone so badly for the Twins’ pitching staff this year, he probably wouldn’t even be in the rotation.
Hendriks was cruising through the Twins’ minor-league system, putting up excellent walk numbers and very good overall results despite underwhelming stuff. The Twins, facing a disastrous major-league rotation situation, called on him after just 16 Class AAA starts (he also had four major-league starts last year), and he’s gotten bombed so far, allowing a remarkable eight home runs in 23 innings. Some of that is probably bad luck, and there’s still a decent chance that Hendriks will be a fairly good pitcher in the long run, but some of it is probably inexperience, along with the fact that righties typically have a much harder time getting major-leaguers out with 90 MPH fastballs than they had in the minors. This is a very winnable game for the Bucs.
The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up a series-opening win against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday and tried to follow it up with a series winning win on Wednesday night, but a decisive Josh Willingham home run left them on the wrong end of a 2-1 decision.
Both teams struggled to pick up runs through the next few innings, but the Bucs finally stopped the drought in the bottom of the seventh inning when Rod Barajas knocked in Pedro Alvarez on a pinch hit sacrifice fly to tie the game. The Twins were able to take the lead in the eighth inning, however, on a Josh Willingham solo home run as the Pirates go down to the Twins 2-1.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing for Wednesday's game against the Minnesota Twins. The starting lineup for the Pirates is almost completely unchanged from Tuesday with only one big difference. Catcher Michael McKenry will get the start rather than Rod Barajas.
The rest of the Pirates' lineup is as follows.
Tabata 7 Harrison 9 McCutchen 8 McGehee 3 Walker 4 Alvarez 5 Barmes 6 McKenry 2 Bedard 1— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) June 20, 2012
Erik Bedard (4-7, 4.36 ERA) will start for the Pirates on Wednesday. In his last start for Pittsburgh, he went only 3.1 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles on June 14.
Wednesday's game is scheduled for a 7:05 start time at PNC Park. Television coverage will be provided by ROOT Sports and radio coverage will be provided by 93.7 KDKA FM.
The Pirates crushed the Minnesota Twins 7-2 Tuesday night, and will hope to continue their winning ways against a weak Twins team on Wednesday (7:05).
The pitching matchup initially looks favorable to the Pirates, but maybe a bit less so upon closer inspection. Francisco Liriano, who has a 6.24 ERA for the year, pitches for the Twins. The beginning of Liriano’s season was so bad that Minnesota removed him from their rotation. He returned in late May and has pitched well since then, posting 29 strikeouts and 10 walks in four starts.
Erik Bedard takes the hill for the Bucs. Bedard has a 4.36 ERA for the season, but he got off to a great start to the year and has struggled recently, walking 15 batters in his last five outings and allowing seven earned runs in his last start, against the Orioles.
The Pittsburgh Pirates opened their series with the lowly Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night with an impressive 7-2 win at PNC Park. The Bucs jumped on Twins' starter Scott Diamond and never looked back. Josh Harrison ripped his second homer of the season, a solo shot to left in the top of the first to give Pittsburgh an early 1-0 lead. Clint Barmes and Matt Hague would add to the lead with an RBI each in the sixth that pushed the lead to 4-0.
Starter Kevin Correia picked up his third win of the season with 5.1 solid innings. He allowed just four hits and did not give up an earned run before he was pulled in the sixth inning with 97 pitches. Juan Cruz gave up a two-run homer to Denard Span in the top of the seventh but that's all the Twins' offense would muster against the Bucs, who responded in the bottom half of the inning with a 3-spot.
Andrew McCutchen blasted his 12th homer of the season to add the insurance after the Span homer. It was a two-run bomb to left that sealed the game. Pittsburgh will look to take the series on Wednesday with Erik Bedard on the hill. Bedard was roughed up by Baltimore in his last outing.
Looking to notch their five consecutive win at PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a three-game weekday series. Taking the mound for Pittsburgh is Kevin Correia, who is 2-6 with a 4.43 ERA through 12 starts this season. Opposite the right-hander for the Twins will be Scott Diamond (5-2, 2.13 ERA).
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m EST and will be televised on ROOT.
Here are tonight's starting lineups:
The Twins' rotation should give the Pirates plenty of opportunities to score in a three-game series that begins Tuesday.