Garrett Jones hit his first homer of the season. (Photo credit: David Hague)
The Pirates finally got a few runs to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-3. Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider both drove in two runs to break Pittsburgh’s four-game losing skid Monday night.
The good news of a victory was mitigated, though, by the third-inning exit of Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez. The left-hander felt tightness in his left hamstring and was removed from the game after doing some stretches and trying to get back on the mound.
Bucs Go Up Early Again
Starling Marte hit a leadoff single for the third straight day and scored on an Andrew McCutchen double. After Diamonbacks starter Trevor Cahill threw back-to-back walks to Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez, Travis Snider knocked in two runs with a bases-loaded single. The Pirates were up 3-0, having already scored more runs than they did all weekend against the Dodgers.
The lone earned run for Rodriguez came on an RBI single to Wil Nieves in the second. Alvarez started an unfortunate third inning for the Pirates when he cut in front of a ground ball toward Clint Barmes.
This was the last pitch Rodriguez threw. Any hamstring injury does not leap off the GIF, but here you go.
Jeanmar Gomez entered and struggled to get outs after three scoreless innings Friday. He gave up a single to Prado, walked Aaron Hill, nearly tossed up a grand slam to Paul Goldschmidt (it was still a sacrifice fly) and allowed an RBI single to Alfredo Marte as his first MLB hit.
Just like that, it was tied up 3-3.
Pirates Tack it On
No problem for the Bucs. Starling Marte became the only Pirates player with two hits on the evening with a triple in the fifth inning. McCutchen drove him in again with a sacrifice fly.
Garrett Jones provided the insurance in the eighth inning by lining a Josh Collmenter fastball into the right-field seats. Home Run No. 1 for GFJ.
After Gomez was iffy (but the dude got the win anyway. Pitcher Wins!), the rest of the bullpen faced the minimum 15 hitters to ice away the victory. Justin Wilson tossed three hitless innings, with his control issues only rearing their ugly head via one hit by pitch. Mark Melancon pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts, and Jason Grilli closed it out for the 1-2-3 save.
Three Points to Remember
Everything isn’t wavy gravy for Pirates’ hitters just yet, despite five runs qualifying as an “outburst” for this season. The Bucs drew six walks, but only racked up five hits. And like Sunday, the Bucs only got two hits after the first inning. They also continued to swing and miss, totaling a season-high 12 strikeouts. Perhaps a win will supply some confidence, but there are still plenty of problems to address. Neil Walker is 0-for-19 since last Wednesday, Russell Martin is 0-for-17 on the season (but with one stolen base now!) and Pedro Alvarez is 2-for-25 with the most strikeouts in the National League.
Give it up for the Pirates’ bullpen in the early going. The relievers are second in the NL by holding opponents to a .171 batting average, third in the NL with a 2.04 ERA and 3.3 strikeouts per walk. Melancon and Wilson are holding up well as two of the newest members of the ‘pen, combining for 8.1 scoreless innings to start the season.
It’s too early to say if Wandy Rodriguez will go on the disabled list, though Tim Williams took a look at a couple options if he does. Rodriguez will be re-evaluated Tuesday, but the fact that he was able to walk around and stretch for a couple minutes before leaving the field give me optimism that his hamstring injury is not serious, but that is nothing more than a guess. The Pirates have an off-day Thursday if they want to be on the safe side and have Rodriguez skip a start.