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

James McDonald made a statement in his final start before the All Star break, which is indeed going to a break for him despite his remarkable first half.  Today’s outing was one of his best, as he had everything working and absolutely dominated the Giants for seven innings.

Check out that man King James!! What an outing by @JamesZ53 twitter.com/NeilWalker18/s…

— Neil Walker (@NeilWalker18) July 7, 2012

McDonald finished with 10 strikeouts, no walks, and just four hits allowed (all singles). A wild pitch sandwiched between two of the singles in the sixth cost him the one run, but his ERA still dropped to 2.37–the third best in the National League, and better than any NL starting pitcher on the All-Star team.

The second best ERA in the league belongs to Ryan Vogelsong, who also pitched pretty well. The Pirates did just enough against him, though, partially thanks to McDonald himself. J-Mac drew a leadoff walk in the third (on some iffy calls) and scored from first on Neil Walker’s double, putting the Bucs ahead 1-0. McDonald also singled off Vogelsong later in the game.

The Pirates got production from some of their hottest bats to take the lead against Vogelsong. Michael McKenry blasted his seventh homer in the fourth, and in the sixth Pedro Alvarez hit an opposite field double (that missed being out by an INCH) that scored Andrew McCutchen, who had singled.

That would be more than enough for J-Mac, who went seven strong before giving way to Jason Grilli. Grilli picked up where J-Mac left off and struck out the side in yet another dominant inning. Joel Hanrahan allowed a bunt single to lead off the ninth, but retired the next three hitters for a pretty clean save.

The Bucs are back to 10 over .500, and have guaranteed themselves at least a share of first place at the break.

Pirates 3, Giants 1 / Box / 2012 Record: 47-37 / Next: Sunday, vs. Giants, 1:35

MVP: McDonald (+.340) / LVP: Jones (-.098) / Key play: Walker’s double scoring JMac

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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