Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/6/12

The Pirates evened the series with the Reds thanks to some long balls and nifty work on defense – two things we haven’t seen a whole lot of from the Bucs so far this year.

Neil Walker hit his first home run of the year on a Mike Leake meatball in the third inning. With Jose Tabata on second after a double with two outs, Neil pounded one well into the air that easily cleared the Clemente wall to put the Pirates up 2-0.

James McDonald had another strong start, going 6.1 and striking out seven. He had a lot of help from his defense, though – McDonald looked sharp, but did allow a fair amount of hard-hit balls. Tabata and Andrew McCutchen both made nice catches at the wall, and the Pirates turned four double plays on the night – two nifty ones by Clint Barmes at short, one on a foolish baserunning play by Scott Rolen, and–most importantly–a ground ball to first that Casey McGehee scooped up, stepped on the base, and fired home for a bang-bang out. It was a great play by McGehee, a great tag by Rod Barajas, and possibly a beneficial call by the ump. Probably the play of the game.

McDonald allowed a run in the sixth and had to come out, but Juan Cruz was able to finish the inning. Alex Presley (who was inserted on a double switch) crushed a homer to right-center on his first AB of the night to give the Pirates an insurance run that they would certainly need. Nice to see Presley get a hold of a ball – he’d been scuffling of late.

Jason Grilli allowed a run in the eighth and the Reds were threatening for more, but he notched two huge strikeouts of Drew Stubbs and Brandon Phillips to escape that jam.  Joel Hanrahan picked up a smooth save in the ninth, and the Pirates pulled off an exciting win in front of a big fireworks night crowd.

Pirates 3, Reds 2 / Box / 2012 Record: 12-15 / Next: Sunday, vs. Reds, 1:35

MVP: McDonald (+.158) / LVP: Barmes (-.078) / Key play: Walker’s HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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