Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/5/14
Another ballpark, Andrew McCutchen thought, and it might have been a homer. Anywhere else and his opposite-field drive in the eighth inning might have cleared the fence and McCutchen would have hit for the cycle. But, at PNC Park, the ball hit about 8 feet shy of the top of the right-field Clemente Wall. “You know,” McCutchen said, “I’ll take the double RBI.” McCutchen went 4 for 5 with three extra-base hits, Jordy Mercer drove in a career-high four runs, and the Pirates beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-2, Friday. The sellout crowd of 38,977 was the largest July 4 crowd in the history of PNC Park. Those fans saw the Pirates bat around in the first and score four runs. They also saw Gerrit Cole leave the game early because of what he called tightness in his right lat — short for latissimus dorsi, the large muscle in the middle and upper back. They watched Stolmy Pimentel work himself into a colossal jam, then watched Jared Hughes celebrate his 29th birthday while extricating the Pirates from it to preserve a lead that ultimately grew and morphed into their 10th win in the past 13 games. The Pirates amassed 13 hits, 10 against Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez. Five of those came in the first. Hernandez had walked 27 and struck out 29 in his previous eight starts. McCutchen said he did not pay attention to such things, but the team was cognizant of his control issues. “We knew that going in,” Mercer said. “We knew we had to be patient but yet still stay aggressive at the same time.” The Pirates epitomized that ideal in the first. Hernandez had to throw 45 pitches and only 22 were strikes. He worked a three-ball count against six batters and ended up walking two. Five singles, three of which scored runs, did the rest of the damage.
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