Pirates 3 – Red Sox 1
W: Paul Maholm (4-8)
L: Jon Lester (9-4)
S: Joel Hanrahan (21)
Best win in PNC PARK History?
The Pirates who could have easily been an intimidating ballclub against the vaunted Boston Red Sox Friday night, were not pushovers by any means.
Jose Tabata and Lyle Overbay each had two hits and an RBI and the Pirates got excellent pitching, enroute to a 3-1 win victory in front of 39,330.
Starter Paul Maholm (4-8) beat an American League team for the first time in nearly two years by surviving 5 1/3 eventful innings. Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth to pick up his 21st save in as many chances as the Pirates won their third straight to climb back above .500.
Boston starter Jon Lester (9-4) pitched six solid innings but failed to become the AL’s first 10-game winner, giving up three runs, two earned, while striking out five and walking one.
Adrian Gonzalez had two hits to bump his major league-leading average to .360, but the Red Sox left 11 men on base while dropping their third straight to a National League team.
Pittsburgh improved to 38-37 and have won three in a row. The team got another solid performance from the bullpen, which shut out the Red Sox over the final 3 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox had their chances, most notably in the eighth inning when they put runners on second and third with one out. Reliever Jose Veras struck out Marco Scutaro then got pinch-hitter David Ortiz to ground out to short to end the inning.
What could this win mean?
How big was this win for the Pirates franchise? It was pretty significant and possibly a huge morale boost moving forward in the sense that this team is starting to feel that they can actually compete.
Were almost at the half mark of the season and the Pirates remain in the hunt.
Going into Saturday’s action, they sit in third place in the NL Central and are 3 games back of Milwaukee for first place.
The Ortiz Factor
The Pirates benefited from David Ortiz being on the bench due to interleague play. Darnell McDonald got the start and batted in the 5-hole.
Against Pirates starter Paul Maholm, McDonald went 0-for-3, leaving six runners on base.
— 3B Chase d’Arnaud made his major league debut and picked up his first major league hit with a triple to left in the fifth inning.
— Lyle Overbay making his first start since the Cleveland series and drove in a big RBI and went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
— The Pirates bullpen combined for 3 2/3 shutout innings and walked just one batter.
— Joel Hanrahan’s ERA is down to 1.27 on the season. He needed just 11 pitches to close out the ninth.
— Jose Tabata was 2-for-4 with an RBI. He is 5-for-13 with 3 RBI’s and a double in his last 3 games.
— Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .556 (25-for-45) in interleague play this season.
— The Red Sox have now lost 3 in a row.
NL CENTRAL STANDINGS
1. Milwaukee Brewers – | 42-35 .545 |
2. St. Louis Cardinals – |41-36 .536 (1GB)|
3. Pittsburgh Pirates – |38-37 .507 (3GB) |
4. Cincinnati Reds – |39-38 .506 (3GB) |
5. Chicago Cubs – |31-44 .413 (10GB)|
6. Houston Astros – |28-49 .364 (14GB)