The Pittsburgh Pirates thumped the Houston Astros 11-2 on Monday night at PNC Park, improving to 43-36 on the season and an impressive 24-13 at home as the Pirates continue to be a very tough out at home. There’s a different feel about this team than last year and different dynamics are at play with no World Series contenders in the division like last year in St. Louis and Milwaukee.


I loved this quote from Pirates manager Clint Hurdle tonight. “We’re earning our way, ” Hurdle said of his ball club. “We’re playing for a city and goal is to rebond with the city and this city is hungry for a winner”. Hurdle gets it……
James McDonald (8-3, 2.45 ERA) took his All-Star snub in stride, pitching seven effective innings and allowing 4 hits and 2 earned runs. McDonald’s 5 walks though were a season high and it’s the first start he’s walked more than two batters since April 25th vs Colorado. McDonald has won eight of his past ten decisions. McDonald ranks 6th in the NL in ERA (2.45) and 4th in NL in WHIP (1.00)
Andrew McCutchen (.354 – 15 HR – 52 RBIs) went 4-5 with a double, RBI and 3 runs scored in the victory. The crowd had the MVP chants out tonight for the star centerfielder who is batting .354 with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs on the season. McCutchen’s .354 batting average is tied for second in the Major Leagues, behind Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz (.356). Last season McCutchen batted .259.
McCutchen’s NL Ranks:
• 2nd in NL in BA (.354)
• 7th in NL in HR (15)
• 6th in NL in RBI (52)
• 9th in NL in R (50)
• 10th in NL in SB (14)
• 4th in NL in SLG (.600)
• 2nd in NL in OPS (1.007)
— The Pirates had 18 hits in the game, scoring 11 runs, including getting back-to-back homers from Garrett Jones (.266-11HR-34RBI) and Neil Walker (.276-5HR-37RBI) in the 5th. The Pirates have scored 11 runs or more in three of their last six games.
— The Pirates 1-6 hitters (Alex Presley 2-5, Drew Sutton 2-5, Andrew McCutchen 4-5, 1RBI; Garrett Jones 4-5, HR, 4RBI; Neil Walker 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Casey McGehee 3-5, 2 RBI) went a combined 15-29 with 2 home runs, 10 RBI’s, 5 doubles and 11 runs scored in the victory.
— Pittsburgh is averaging 6.5 runs in their last 16 games, going 11-5 during that span.
— The Pirates have hit 42 home runs since June 1
— The Pirates are 23-12 since May 25th
The Pirates have a 16-5 home record since May 12, which is the best mark in the majors.