PITTSBURGH - MAY 25: James McDonald #53 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the game on May 25, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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As has been their pattern recently, the Bucs got a good performance from their starter (James McDonald, who had six strikeouts while allowing two runs in six innings), but got little from their offense. The Braves' first two runs came from an RBI single by Chipper Jones in the first and a mammoth Eric Hinske homer in the sixth. Meanwhile, the Pirates got two from a run-scoring single by Steve Pearce in the third and a solo homer by Pearce in the seventh (after Jose Tabata ran himself off the bases, perhaps costing the Pirates the go-ahead run).
The Bucs had a golden opportunity to score in the ninth, when Lyle Overbay led off with a walk and an error by the Braves' middle infield allowed Ronny Cedeno to reach safely. Chris Snyder bunted them over, leaving men on second and third in a 2-2 game with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately, the Braves intentionally walked Tabata and then Pearce did the worst thing he could have, grounding into a third-to-home-to-first double play.
The Pirates then brought in Jeff Karstens to pitch in extra innings. (Karstens is in the rotation, obviously, but the Bucs have an off day Thursday, so Clint Hurdle probably felt it was safe to use him.) Karstens gave up a two-run shot by Brooks Conrad in the 11th to end it.
After their day off, the Pirates will begin a road series against the Chicago Cubs Friday afternoon.