Andrew McCutchen blasts Bucs past Tigers

Final: Pirates 4, Tigers 3

WP: A.J. Burnett (2-2, 4.78 ERA)

LP: Drew Smyly (1-1, 2.89 ERA)

SV: Joel Hanrahan (9, 3.07 ERA)

If you hadn’t heard already, Andrew McCutchen likes facing left-handed pitchers. Going into today’s game, he was hitting .314/.390/.539 for his career against southpaws. Well, today he helped out those stats, with not one, but two 2-run home runs off the Tigers’ Drew Smyly.

That was all the Pirates needed as A.J. Burnett gave up just two runs over six innings of work. Burnett clearly did not have his best stuff tonight and struggled with his command, but was somehow able to labor through that to put together a quality start.

Jason Grilli and Juan Cruz bridged the gap to Joel Hanrahan in the 9th, who struck out Prince Fielder to end the game on a nasty slider.

Some people have been clamoring about Pedro Alvarez‘s struggles since moving to the clean up spot. Alvarez was 0 for 3 tonight with a walk and hasn’t homered since being moved there. However, McCutchen has flourished with the protection of Alvarez behind him as every single one of McCutchen’s home runs this season have come with Pedro standing in the on deck circle. Don’t move him.

Joel Hanrahan probably had his best outing of the season today. His fastball was sizzling, hitting 98 mph four times, and he had both good location and deadly movement on his slider. He looked good.

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