When athletes are asked if they pay attention to what is being said in the media, they always say no. I tend to believe even though they say that they don’t, they can’t help but hear the things that are said; especially the negative comments. After Friday’s abysmal 1-0 loss to the Astros, the Pirates were being ripped for their inability to score runs and get timely hits. On Saturday, Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen silenced the critics at least for a night, as they came out and put five runs on the board to take game two of the series 5-2.
The Pirates struck early Tabata led off the game with a triple. After seeing Tabata hit the leadoff triple last night and the Pirates failing to score a run, fans weren’t taking a run as a sure thing. However Neil Walker drove in Tabata with a sacrifice fly.
“It’s good,” Tabata said. “It’s my job and gotta be on base as the leadoff guy. I got a triple and thank god for that and I trust Neil Walker. Today he did a good job.”
The Pirates would also capitalize in a big way thanks to solo home runs from Andrew McCutchen in the third and Tabata in the fifth.
“I told myself mentally I have to be on base and looked for fastball,” Tabata said of his home run. “I got lucky a little big.”
After the Astros cut the deficit to one run, the Pirates added two insurance runs in the sixth inning as the 3-4-5 hitters would all reach base. A sacrifice-fly by Clint Barmes would score Pedro Alvarez and Casey McGehee would score on a wild pitch.
McCutchen and Tabata would combine for six of the seven Pirates hits on the evening, including a 4-4 performance by McCutchen, his second this week.
“Andrew had another big night,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s good to be able to see him hit the ball to right centerfield like that.”
Taking the mound for the Pirates was right-hander Charlie Morton. After Morton’s poor performance last Sunday against the Reds, Morton said he was hoping to get his bread and butter pitch, his sinker, back. Morton was able to record 14 outs via the ground ball and his bread and butter was back.
“I thought Charlie was able to right the ship,” Hurdle said. “He put 17 balls on the ground and got 14 outs. It’s real good to see. Real good to see.”
In other related news, Alvarez broke out of an 0-22 slump since being moved into the cleanup spot with his double the opposite way in the sixth inning.
“Tonight he put some excellent swings especially the double the other way,” Hurdle said. “Again, we are going to show patience and let him swing the bat.”
Hurdle also mentioned that Erik Bedard would be unable to make his scheduled start on Monday against the Miami Marlins, he would be pushed back until Wednesday. Brad Lincoln will get the nod for Monday.
The Pirates and Astros will conclude their three-game series with a special Mother’s Day game. Numerous Pirates players will be wearing special Under Armour cleats with pink in them and others will be using pink bats for the occasion. A.J. Burnett (1-2, 6.08 ERA) will take the hill for the Pirates (15-18) and Wandy Rodriguez (3-3, 2.14 ERA) will oppose him for Houston. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.
Photo credits: Getty Images