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Vogelsong improving

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(Sports Network) - Although rookie pitcher Ryan Vogelsong has struggled greatly in his first full year in the majors, the Pirates have shown a great deal of patience with him which maybe finally paying off.

The 26-year-old hard throwing righthander hadn't won a game since April 8th, before allowing just two hits and one earned run in six innings of a 7-2 triumph over Houston on Wednesday. He had dropped seven straight decisions before tossing a gem against the Astros. "It's a big lift. I needed it big time," Vogelsong said to the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette following the victory over Houston. "You try not to let it get in your mind when you're struggling. I just tried to block out the last two months as best I could and stay positive and work hard." Vogelsong had posted 1-7 record with a dismal 7.62 ERA in 13 starts before earning his second win of the season. "Tom Glavine lost [17] games in his first [full] year on a similar team," said Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon. "If the Braves had panicked and sent him back to the minors, would Tom Glavine be the player he is today?" McClendon's patience might be paying off, as Vogelsong has shown signs of improvement in the Month of June. In three of his last four starts, Vogelsong has allowed three runs or less while lasting at least six innings. Over that time he has lowered his ERA from 8.08 to 7.10. "He has great stuff. He's throwing 92-96 [mph]. He gets even better when he gets ahead in the count," McClendon said about Vogelsong. While many teams would have demoted Vogelsong back to the minors, the Pirates have shown patience for the kid who, was a fifth-round draft pick in 1998 by the Giants out of Kutztown State in Pennsylvania. Vogelsong posted a 2-2 mark for the Pirates last season, allowing no earned runs in victories over the Reds and Cubs in consecutive starts. "I believe Ryan Vogelsong in the big leagues will be better served working with [pitching coach] Spin Williams than having him go to Triple-A and dominate at that level," said McClendon when asked about Vogelsong's immediate future with the Pirates. With tremendous support displayed from the Pirates organization, Vogelsong has started to shown signs of improvement and he should only get better with time and experience. WHO'S HOT Jason Kendall has a five game hitting streak and in that time he has gone 10- for-20 with two home runs and six RBI. Jason Bay has four home runs and five RBI over his last six contests. WHO'S NOT Craig Wilson is batting just .176 in the month of June after hitting over .350 in April and May. Randall Simon has just one hit in his last 15 plate appearances. COMING UP After the Pirates conclude a three-game series with the Reds, they will head back home for three straight contests against the Cardinals. about Mackowiak's recent surge. "He's swinging the bat extremely well, getting good pitches to hit and he's playing solid defense. He's been outstanding."

With a new son and outlook on baseball, Mackowiak has been reborn and is now ready for a successful major league career, which is what the Pirates have been waiting for since 1996.

WHO'S HOT

Mackowiak has hit safely in 17 of his last 21 games, going 25-for-82 with seven home runs and 23 RBI.

Jason Kendall has an 18-game hitting streak and is 30-for-81 over that time.

WHO'S NOT

Jason Bay has just three hits in his last 20 plate appearances.

Kris Benson has allowed 22 hits and 13 earned runs over his last two starts, spanning 12 innings.

COMING UP

After the Pirates conclude a series with St. Louis, they will head to Chicago for three straight games versus the Cubs .

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