Charlie Morton pitched a complete-game five-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, with the Reds’ only run coming on a solo homer by Jay Bruce in the ninth inning. The start was the latest development in what just might be a career turnaround for Morton, who has been much more effective in 2011 than he was in a disastrous 2010. In contrast with his two previous starts of the season (which also were generally effective), Morton also kept batters from walking Friday, allowing just two free passes.
The Pirates’ offense, which had been absent in the Bucs’ abbreviated previous series against the Brewers, also turned out on Friday – the Pirates got homers from Neil Walker and Garrett Jones, and Jose Tabata had four hits, while Chris Snyder had three. Andrew McCutchen continued to struggle, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, but overall, this might have been the Pirates’ strongest win of the season.
(Many commentators have noted that, in contrast to last season, when the Pirates played fairly well at home but couldn't do anything on the road, this year they've done the opposite. On Friday they left behind a miserable home series against the Brewers and then played well in their first game back on the road, so expect to hear a lot more from that narrative, at least until tomorrow.)