Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 5/18/12
The Thursday Takeaway Pirates starter James McDonald took home his third win of the season last night, but by the time he left the mound, he had been saddled with three runs in 5 2/3 innings—an outcome that belied his dominance of the Nationals in his team’s 5-3 win. The 27-year-old righty cruised through his first five innings, pounding the zone and missing plenty of bats. He picked up two strikeouts in the first, fanned the side in the second, added two more apiece in the third and fourth, and reached double digits by whiffing Rick Ankiel to end the fifth. All the while, McDonald maintained a no-hitter, thanks in part to this effort from center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who also paced Pittsburgh’s offense with two home runs. Once among the hardest-throwing starters in the majors, McDonald has traded some fastball velocity for a significant improvement in control and command of his off-speed pitches, which he mixed especially well last night. Counting his 11 strikeouts and one walk
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