Harrison's heroics get Pirates' bats going in win
Pinch-hitter's two-run homer in seventh breaks tie, opens floodgates
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' latest reclamation project, right-hander Edinson Volquez, had another solid outing and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison delivered a two-run seventh-inning home run to lift the Bucs to an 11-2 win over the Brewers.
Harrison hit his third career pinch-hit home run off Brewers reliever Rob Wooten, plating Jordy Mercer who had singled. Wooten suffered the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season. The Pirates added another run in the inning as Starling Marte scampered home on a fielder's choice.
"Funny how the game works out. I've seen it happen on other teams as the manager, you know guys are trying, he didn't get it down, alright lets move on," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It didn't happen, let's swing away and see what you can make happen. The guy threw him a breaking ball over the plate and he put a real nice swing on it."
"They say baseball is a game of adjustments, and I was presented with the opportunity to bunt and didn't get it down, but you can't let that affect you," Harrison stated. "The at-bat wasn't over and I was just trying to do anything I could to keep my at-bat alive. He threw me a pitch and I put a good swing on it and it found the stands."
"That's by far the most disappointed I've been in myself in my professional career, at any level," Wooten said. "Not only the hits, just mentally -- I don't really have words to describe it right now. It's pretty embarrassing."
The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Pirates.
Volquez tossed seven innings -- his longest outing of the season -- and allowed two runs on eight hits. He threw 77 pitches, 53 were strikes, and notched his first win of the year. Volquez is now 23-8 against the NL Central division since it was formed in 1994.
"It feels good, first 'W' in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform," Volquez said. "It's a great feeling, it's a great ballgame and we scored some runs today. It was good to keep all my pitches down, not many pitches wasted."
"I think the most impressive number tonight is he retired 20 hitters on three pitches or less." Hurdle said of Volquez. "Each one of the starts we've seen him the pitch count has been in a very efficient place. Only one three ball count on the evening. Again, first pitch strikes 16 out of 28, he comes right at you and he's going to make something happen."
Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo countered with six strong innings. He surrendered two runs on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts. Gallardo had a high pitch count, with 114 pitches during his stint.
"It was one thing we did extremely well," Hurdle said. "He competes and is efficient with his pitches, and we were able to stretch counts out. Didn't chase, took some strikes obviously. Got him to a good place, but we didn't push runs across. You just like when you can push a quality starter out because of his pitch count."
The Brewers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Carlos Gomez scored on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez.
The Pirates bounced right back in the bottom of the first inning. Marte walked, and with one out Andrew McCutchen smacked his first home run of the season, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
"I think I was battling myself a little bit more than my past few starts," Gallardo said. "Honestly, just overthrowing. That first hitter of the game, I started off trying to do way too much and I ended up walking the guy. Then the ball was just up to McCutchen. We tried to go down and away and it was right down the middle, thigh-high. Obviously, to a hitter like that, you can't make any mistakes."
Jonathan Lucroy stroked a two-out single, plating Ryan Braun, who had doubled, and tying the score at 2-2 in the top of the third inning.
The Pirates added six insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against former Pirates Minor Leaguer Wei-Chung Wang. Gaby Sanchez hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot. Pinch-hitter Jose Tabata doubled in a run, Russell Martin had an RBI single and Pedro Alvarez nicked the right-hander for a three-run home run, his sixth of the season.
"It was a good ballgame until the seventh inning," Roenicke said. "We didn't do well offensively, and we let it get away from us out there."
Pirates right-handers Mark Melancon and Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively, to nail down the victory for the Pirates.