Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 10/30/14
Astros_vs_mets_41b4
On Opening Day the Pittsburgh Pirates offense could not get anything to go right, spoiling a 10-strikeout performance by starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. Wednesday the team got another stellar performance from its starting pitcher and this time the bats did just enough to push Pittsburgh to their first win of the season. Wandy Rodriguez allowed just two hits in 5 2/3 innings and got the win in the Pirates’ 3-0 victory against Chicago. Photo: David Hague Wandy Rodriguez allowed just two hits and struck out six Chicago Cubs in 6 2/3 innings while Andrew McCutchen, Gaby Sanchez and Starling Marte each drove in runs in the Pirates’ 3-0 win. “The fastball had a lot of life — a lot of late life,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He stayed aggressive and worked fast. Threw the strikes and the breaking ball was a good pitch for him again tonight.” Pittsburgh got on the board in the third inning after Garrett Jones reached first on a single and was promptly brought around to score when McCutchen smacked a stand-up double into the left field corner. McCutchen came in to score when Sanchez hit a bouncing ball that reached the outfield after Cubs’ shortstop Starlin Castro could not come up with the backhanded grab. Chicago threatened in the seventh when Rodriguez hit Anthony Rizzo, gave up a single to Alfonso Soriano and hit Wellington Castillo to load the bases.  Rodriguez then battled with the Cubs’ Brent Lillibrige, and after having trouble locating his fastball he threw a backdoor curveball in a full count that crept over the outside of the plate for the third strike on what would be his final pitch of the game. When asked about his final out, Rodriguez said (through a translator) that when catcher Russell Martin came to the mound he asked him what he wanted to throw and he said the breaking ball because of his trouble locating the fastball. “He’s a pro. That’s a pro’s pitch,” Hurdle said. “No kid’s going to throw that pitch.” Tony Watson came in to relieve Rodriguez and got Alberto Gonzalez to pop up to end the inning. Pittsburgh added an insurance run in the seventh inning. Clint Barmes led off with a ground rule double and was moved to third on a Watson sacrifice bunt. Marte then slapped a ball into the outfield for his RBI before being caught attempting to steal second base. ** The Pirates bullpen hasn’t just been good through two games, it’s been great. The relief pitching was one area that was thought to potentially be a strength of the club this season, and in 5 2/3 innings of work so far this season the unit has not allowed a hit. Jason Grilli, new to the role of closer in 2013, earned his first save of the season emphatically with two strikeouts in the ninth inning. Asked if he was particularly nervous in his new role, he admitted that his heart was probably beating a little faster than normal but that he is used to facing the heart of the order when he comes into games. “It’s something I can definitely get used to,” Grilli said. “This has been some kind of journey for me. It’s hard to even iterate in a short little sentence or sum up for you guys. It’s something I know my dad has always said he wanted to do in his career and I’m doing it at the big league level. I always thought I was capable of doing it, I just finally got the chance.” ** The Pirates and Cubs will close their three-game series today with James McDonald scheduled to make his first start of the season for Pittsburgh. McDonald, as most of you certainly remember, had a less than stellar second half of 2012 and was roughed up last weekend in an exhibition game against Altoona. Asked if he thought the solid performances from Burnett and Rodriguez in the first two games could rub off on McDonald, Hurdle said it was possible but “time will tell.” “The first two guys have pitched extremely well,” Hurdle said.  ”James will get the ball tomorrow and we’ve talked before about things being contagious in this game and sometimes you’ll see that good starting pitching can be contagious as well. We’ll see tomorrow.” First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 from PNC Park. Left-handed pitcher Travis Wood is scheduled to start for the Cubs.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Red Sox to reportedly target Pablo Sandoval in offseason

Alex Rodriguez's season-long MLB ban comes to an end

Madison Bumgarner pitches Giants to World Series title

Giants fans get rowdy celebrating World Series win

Roy Williams' response to criticism over academic scandal

Jerry Jones challenging Tony Romo to play Sunday?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Wizards make rapper Wale new 'creative liaison' for team

Report: Joe Maddon to become Cubs manager

Rockets Harden and Ariza visit Julius Randle in the hospital

Dan Gilbert asked if he 'deserved' to have LeBron back

Brady: Maybe at Manning's age I'll be playing that well

Dolphins LB brings kid from stands to field before each game

WATCH: Randle offers money for massage in jailhouse video

Top storyline for each Week 9 NFL game

WATCH: Chevy guy bombs World Series presentation

WATCH: James Ennis throws down dunk of the season

Kris Humphries shares nasty photo of gruesome finger injury

WATCH: Joe Panik makes play of the game in Game 7

Russell Westbrook wears aluminum foil-like outfit

WATCH: Capitals' Chimera suffers nasty broken nose

Robert Griffin III to start against Vikings

WATCH: Navy raps about Notre Dame, set to ‘Anaconda’

Rulon Gardner selling Olympic memorabilia to pay $3.9M debt

Mike Pettine says he ‘can sense’ Johnny Manziel’s frustration

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Williams' response to criticism

WATCH: Chevy guy totally bombs

Bumgarner pitches Giants to title

Report: Cubs to hire Maddon as manager

Tom Brady talks Peyton Manning

Best Game 7s in World Series history

NFL, MLB spend on mid-term elections

Gurley suspended four games

Gordie Howe suffered stroke

WATCH: Kobe and Dwight get into it

Notre Dame WR will not be punished

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.