The Pittsburgh Pirates snapped their lengthy losing streak to
the Arizona Diamondbacks by knocking around one of baseball’s top
The Pirates look to build on this victory and win their first
series in the desert in nearly five years when they face the
Diamondbacks in Sunday’s finale.
With Friday’s series-opening 9-1 loss to Arizona, Pittsburgh
(3-2) dropped its sixth straight in the series. The games had
rarely been close during this stretch with the Pirates being
Chances of ending this slide weren’t looking good for Pittsburgh
with Dan Haren taking the mound Saturday for the Diamondbacks
(3-2), but the Pirates had little trouble getting the best of the
Aki Iwamura and Jeff Clement homered off Haren, and Pittsburgh
went on to win 6-3, just its fourth victory in 15 games at Chase
Field since 2006. The Pirates, who haven’t won a series in Phoenix
since taking three of four May 5-8, 2005, battered Haren for six
runs – five earned – and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.
“You have to grind out your at-bats against a good pitcher like
him, keep pushing, and we did that, then took advantage of his
mistakes,” manager John Russell told the Pirates’ official Web
Haren and Edwin Jackson (0-1, 5.40 ERA), the scheduled starter
for the series finale, are expected to lead Arizona’s rotation with
2006 NL Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb on the disabled list
while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Jackson gave up three runs and five hits with five strikeouts in
five innings of a 6-3 loss to San Diego on Tuesday in his
“For a first start, I felt pretty good,” said the right-hander,
who went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 22 starts for Detroit last season.
“I’ll just keep building off of it as the season progresses.”
Jackson is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts against the
Pirates, but hasn’t faced them since 2008.
Pittsburgh counters with Daniel McCutchen, who won the fifth
spot in the team’s rotation after going 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in four
spring training games. In 13 1-3 innings in the Grapefruit League,
the right-hander struck out 10 and walked three.
“I’m ready to go,” McCutchen said. “I feel good with all of my
McCutchen made his major league debut last season, going 1-2
with a 4.21 ERA in six starts after being called up in late August.
He seemed to get better with each start, and recorded a 2.95 ERA
while throwing at least six innings in each of his final three
outings in 2009.
This will be his first career appearance against the
Diamondbacks, who might be without catcher Miguel Montero after he
left in the second inning Saturday with a knee injury.
Montero, who is 6 for 12 with three RBIs, was trying to avoid a
tag from Zach Duke when he landed awkwardly just before reaching
first base. Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said the knee didn’t have a
lot of swelling or pain, but Montero said it was uncomfortable. An
MRI was planned.
“Anytime you talk about knees, it’s scary,” Hinch said, “but
we’ll hope for the best and act accordingly.”