Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/18/12

The Pirates had some more problems on the mound on Wednesday afternoon, but were able to overcome them with a ton of offense. Four long balls helped the Bucs earn their second straight win in Colorado, giving them the series victory.

James McDonald was awful to open the game. He had no control whatsoever, and served up two very long home runs to the first three batters. It was 3-0 Rockies very quickly, and while the Pirates now know they can come back from deficits like that, it was alarming to see J-Mac so off. He was better after the first, but still wasn’t good. The Rockies tacked on two more in the second, although the key hits were pretty cheap. Colorado added one more in the fourth, but hey, thanks to the big day by the offense, 6 runs in 5 innings ended up being good enough for a win. I’m almost positive that Clint Hurdle let him pitch the fifth for that reason alone.

McDonald can thank his teammates for the “W” today, as they went right to work off Jeremy Guthrie once the Bucs fell behind. Pedro Alvarez crushed his second opposite field homer of the series in the second inning to get the team on the board, and McDonald himself started things off with a single in the third. With two outs, Andrew McCutchen drew a walk to bring up Garrett Jones, who pounded a huge three-run shot to right-center. That brought the deficit down to one and really made it a new game all of a sudden.

The line kept moving, this time thanks to two ground balls booted by the Colorado infield. Rod Barajas was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Clint Barmes came up big with a bloop single to score two and give the Pirates the lead.

McDonald allowed the Rockies to tie it, but Casey McGehee untied it in the fifth with an opposite field blast of his own–a two run shot to make it 8-6. Barajas got a hold of one moments later to make it a four-homer game for the offense.

The four homers give the Pirates 101 on the season. Last year they hit 107 total. Even during the midst of their early season struggles, the Bucs were doing OK in the home run department and now they have really started to turn it on. Playing the Rockies at Coors Field helps, obviously, but it was pretty fantastic to see the Bucs put up nine runs despite getting no hits from the red-hot Neil Walker (who had his modest hitting streak snapped) or McCutchen.

Brad Lincoln tossed two ho-hum scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Jason Grilli got into trouble for the second outing in a row, but Tony Watson came on and got out of a jam for him. Joel Hanrahan picked up the easy save in the ninth and showed no signs of his recent struggles.

Good series win for the Pirates, who are back in a tie for first place after Cincinnati’s loss to Arizona.

Pirates 9, Rockies 6 / Box / 2012 Record: 51-40 / Next: Friday, at Marlins, 7:05

MVP: Jones (+.212) / LVP: McDonald (-.268) / Key play: Jones’ HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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