video thumbnail

BOS@PIT: McCutchen rips an RBI single in the fifth

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates will get over Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, despite how defensively unsound it may have been. It's the loss the Pirates suffered in the first inning of the contest, though, that has the potential to be much more impactful.

In front 39,511 fans, now the biggest crowd in PNC Park history, outfielder Jose Tabata was carted off the field on a stretcher after legging out an infield hit and falling to the ground. It was later announced that he had suffered a left quad injury.

Both the diagnosis and prognosis are unclear, though the club would be dealt a significant blow if Tabata ends up being out for any length of time. A better idea of that timetable should come after Tabata undergoes an exam on Monday.

It was encouraging to see Tabata, dressed in street clothes, limping out of the Pirates' clubhouse without any assistance after the game. Asked how severe he thought the injury was, Tabata said he didn't know. He was also asked how he felt.

"Better," he said. "We'll see tomorrow."

Tabata clarified that the injury was sustained after he touched first base on the bunt single.

Tabata's exit soured an afternoon that only got worse for Pittsburgh, which had a chance to complete its first Interleague sweep since 2001. The defense gave the team no shot at that, though, as it committed a season-worst four errors, which combined to allow three unearned runs. The last three runs the Red Sox scored came in innings where Boston didn't record a hit.

Boston committed two of its own, though the Red Sox maneuvered around their miscues much more effectively.

"We didn't play well enough to win today and we've held ourselves to that standard each and every day we play," manager Clint Hurdle said. "So when you don't play well enough to win and you make four errors, those things happen."

Two of those unearned runs came while starter James McDonald was on the mound, and they hardly helped the right-hander in his quest for better efficiency. An errant throw by Andrew McCutchen, who lofted a ball over third base, off the glove of Chase d'Arnaud and into the stands, gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the fourth. The throw allowed Jarod Saltalamacchia, who was tagging from second to advance on a fly ball out, to trot home.

The Pirates struck back for two runs before McDonald's own error allowed the Red Sox to tie the game in the sixth. Trying to get a forceout at second, McDonald sailed a throw into center that allowed Kevin Youkilis to race to third with no outs. He scored on a sacrifice fly.

"I made the play, got the feet set and just threw it into center field," McDonald said.

The Red Sox then used a pair of walks and a fielding error by Daniel Moskos to capitalize in the seventh. Tim Wood issued the first free pass, before pinch-hitter David Ortiz drew one off Moskos after crushing a ball out of the ballpark that was just foul.

Moskos' inability to cleanly field a sacrifice bunt put the Red Sox in position to plate two in the inning. Three of the four Boston runners to score Sunday reached via a walk.

McDonald was able to get through six innings for just the second time in five June starts, though he wasn't entirely able to overcome his inefficiency problems. The righty had thrown 41 pitches through two innings and finished the day with a pitch count of 101. But he was noticeably more aggressive than his last start, which allowed him to avoid more trouble.

"There were times where I got a little lackadaisical with guys and I had to get myself back into aggressive-mode," McDonald said. "But I felt like it was better. I kept them on their toes more. I felt like I was in more pitchers' counts this game. That was improvement."

The Red Sox scored the final three runs of the game after the Pirates had taken a 2-1 lead against Boston's Andrew Miller. The Bucs took advantage of an error by Marco Scutaro to score in the fourth and put themselves in terrific position to distance themselves on the scoreboard in the fifth.

Miller issued a leadoff walk to McDonald, then three straight singles followed. The last of those was off the bat of McCutchen, who skipped a ball just past Youkilis at third. McDonald scored easily, but Garrett Jones, who was initially waved home by third-base coach Nick Leyva, retreated to third and was caught off the base.

What could have been a bases-loaded, no-out situation was gone, and the inning ended quietly from there.

"Fortunately, he overran the bag, so that was a nice out to pick up," Miller said. "I was able to get some soft contact when I wanted it, and guys made some great plays."

Miller, who also finished six innings, picked up his first win of the season.

Still, the Pirates were plenty satisfied in taking two out of three from the Red Sox, who ended their four-game skid and Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak with the victory in the series finale. The series drew 118,324 fans, making this a record attendance for a three-game set at PNC Park.

"This was a great weekend in experience for us," Hurdle said. "I think we're going to walk away not feeling any different than when we walked in. We can beat anybody we play when we play well." Comments