For the Pittsburgh Pirates and newly acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd, you couldn’t have scripted a better welcome to Pittsburgh moment.
In his first game in a Pirates uniform the Bucs new right fielder clubbed a big three-run homer and the Pirates rode the hot arm of Charlie Morton to a 7-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, snapping a three-game losing streak.
After another rough start from Jeff Locke on Tuesday, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle needed a good start from Morton (6-3) and he delivered. Morton allowed only five hits and an unearned run in 6.2 innings of stellar work and the Pirates’ offense gave him plenty of run support.
For the second consecutive night the Bucs’ bats showed signs of coming to life as they scored early and often off of former Pirate Tom Gorzelanny (3-6).
Josh Harrison led off the game with a single and following a Jordy Mercer walk, Andrew McCutchen continued his torrid month of August with an RBI single to left to make it 1-0. Things could have been much worse for Gorzelanny but he somehow snagged a bullet off the bat of Byrd and turned it into a rally killing double play.
The Bucs added on though in the fourth when McCutchen singled and stole second then came around to score on an RBI single from Gaby Sanchez.
That lead doubled in the fifth though when Jose Tabata led off the inning with a triple and came around to score on an RBI single from Harrison. Mercer then followed with a double to right center that plated Harrison to make it a 4-0 game.
The Brewers got one of those runs back in the seventh when with runners on the corners; Russell Martin tried to throw behind the runner at first base and threw the ball into right field which allowed Scooter Gennett to score.
However Byrd got that run back and then some in the Pirates half of the seventh when he clubbed his 22nd homer of the season to make it a 7-1 game.
The Bucs pounded out 13 hits on the night with Harrison and Sanchez recording three each and Mercer and McCutchen collecting a pair each.
The Pirates win, coupled with the Cardinals getting blown out by the Cincinnati Reds pulls the Bucs back to within a half game of the division leading Red Birds.
Gerrit Cole (6-6, 3.81 ERA) gets the chance to pitch the Bucs back into a first place tie on Thursday when he takes on the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo (9-9, 4.61). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.