It was a simple day off for McCutchen (no stated injury), but that didn’t stop the Pirates offense from clicking on the way to 7 runs. Newly-acquired first baseman Justin Morneau led the way with a 4-for-5 day that included 2 runs scored, and an 8th-inning home run from Clint Barmes finished off the win at the final margin of victory.
For Morneau, it was his best game in a Pittsburgh uniform, and his performance helped to pick up one of the staff’s “aces” in AJ Burnett. Burnett allowed 5 earned runs over 6 innings, and nearly gave away an early 4-0 lead before the offense bailed him out. After the start, Burnett’s ERA is up to 3.45 on the year, but I’m certain that he was just fine with that number if it resulted in the team’s 84th win of the year.
With the win, the Pirates trail the St. Louis Cardinals by just 1/2 game in the standings (pending the St. Louis result from Wednesday evening), and a sweep over the Rangers is nothing to sneeze at. Texas certainly played a part in helping Pittsburgh win each game (namely, Matt Garza on Wednesday), but far too many people continue to sleep on the Pirates.
We’ll know soon enough if they can prove the general public wrong.