The Pittsburgh Pirates dealt the St. Louis Cardinals their first series loss Sunday when the Bucs clipped the Redbirds 4-3 at PNC Park.
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The Bucs embark on a seven-game road trip before returning to the North Shore to take on the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, May 19 in interleague action. Let’s grab some more coffee and take a look back at winning the series over the National Central Division leaders, the Cards.
1) Andrew McCutchen is getting his batting groove back. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound center fielder collected his fourth extra-base hit in his last four contests in the Pirates 4-3 victory Sunday over the Cardinals.
The 28-year-old All-Star went 1-for-3 with a double in the home half of the sixth. Over his last four games, he has gone 7-for-16. He contributed four hits, scored two runs, and walked once in 12 at-bats against the Redbirds.
2) St. Louis (22-9) is not invincible after all. Perhaps the injuries to the squad are starting to take their toll. They lost starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, who is out for the season with an Achilles injury. In addition, pitchers Jordan Walden and Jaime Garcia along with outfielder Randal Grichuk are all on the 15-day disabled list.
It could just be the team coming back down to earth over the course of the 162-game schedule. It will be interesting to see how the Cards do in the short-term as they play 10 of their next 13 on the road.
3) From the bullpen, we see the continuing progress of Rob Scahill. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound righthander claimed his first victory by pitching a scoreless sixth in Saturday’s 7-5 win against the Cardinals. The 28-year-old Illinois native delivered seven of his 11 pitches for strikes.
4) Sticking with the relievers, Jared Hughes did well when answering the call to the pen from manager Clint Hurdle. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound righthander yielded one hit and struck out one in the seventh Saturday in helping to defeat the Cards 7-5. The Connecticut native, who will turn 30 in July, claimed his first win Sunday by finishing the seventh for Jeff Locke as the Bucs edged the Cards 4-3.
5) Jung Ho Kang is playing himself into Hurdle’s everyday lineup. The 6-foot, 215-pound infielder went 5-for-10 at the plate over the three-game series. He scored three runs and contributed a pair of RBIs. The question is coming down to who will sit on the bench? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Up Next: The Pirates hit the road Monday for a four-game set with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Philly (11-21) will go with righthander Jerome Williams (2-2, 5.10 ERA) and the Bucs will counter with Gerrit Cole (4-1, 2.27 ERA).
The 24-year-old will be making his seventh start of the season. His last start was a 3-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday at PNC Park. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound righthander is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies. The game will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The largest crowd that the Pirates have drawn on the road this season was 45,095 Saturday, May 2 against the Cardinals in St. Louis…The smallest was 15,616 Thursday, April 9 against the Reds in Cincinnati…The last time the Pirates hit a leadoff home run was Tuesday, April 21 against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.