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 outscored 46-10.
Chances of ending this slide weren’t looking good for Pittsburgh with Dan Haren(notes) taking the mound Saturday for the Diamondbacks (3-2), but the Pirates had little trouble getting the best of the three-time All-Star.
Aki Iwamura(notes) and Jeff Clement(notes) 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 site.
Haren and Edwin Jackson(notes) (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(notes) 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 Diamondbacks debut.
“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(notes), 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 pitches.”
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.
Montero, who is 6 for 12 with three RBIs, was trying to avoid a tag from Zach Duke(notes) 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.”