Pirates 11, Diamondbacks 5
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Forget that interleague play stuff. For at least one night, the Pittsburgh Pirates were content to stay in the National League and enjoy their newly productive offense.
Xavier Nady hit a three-run homer to help Pittsburgh open a seven-run lead in the only non-interleague series of the weekend, and the Pirates withstood a shaky start from Ian Snell to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5 Friday night.
Adam LaRoche, one of baseball’s best hitters this month after being one of its worst in April, had two hits, scored twice and drove in two runs as the Pirates halted a five-game losing streak against Arizona dating to last season. All but one Pittsburgh run came with two outs.
The Pirates have scored seven or more runs in four of six games, including games with 13 and 11 runs, after doing so only once in their first 35 games. Not surprisingly, they’ve won all four.
“It’s no secret we’ve wasted some good pitching performances and the offense has struggled, but everyone believed we’d eventually—and hopefully— turn it around,” Nady said. “We scored runs early and got some timely hits. Hopefully we can continue this.”
Perhaps it was a confusing night for the Diamondbacks, an NL West team that made the first of two cross country visits to Pittsburgh this season when everyone else in the majors was playing an interleague opponent. The Pirates didn’t help by wearing red jerseys, a new addition this season that seemed more appropriate for the Diamondbacks’ new red-dominant color scheme.
Before the game, Arizona manager Bob Melvin joked the Pirates were Arizona’s new “natural rival,” a reference to interleague matchups this weekend featuring such series as Yankees-Mets and White Sox-Cubs. But Arizona starter Doug Davis (2-5), a frequent Pirates opponent while with Milwaukee, never got into a groove against a familiar team.
Davis allowed 10 hits and seven runs in 4 2-3 innings as the Diamondbacks scored their most runs in 16 May games, yet lost by six runs.
Nady’s homer, his fifth, came in the third after Freddy Sanchez and Jason Bay singled, and made it 3-0. The Pirates added four more runs after Davis walked the first two batters of the fifth, threw a wild pitch and then allowed four consecutive singles—LaRoche’s drove in two runs—before being lifted.
No doubt Davis wishes the Diamondbacks were playing an AL opponent this weekend.
“That one to Nady, I wish I could have back,” said Davis, 2-4 in his career at PNC Park. “I thought I pitched better than the line said. I’ll tell you what, I had flashbacks to the last three years. Every time I pitch here it feels like that happened to me. I couldn’t find a put-away pitch. I’ve had bad luck in this park and it’s something I’ve got to overcome.”
Snell (4-2) gave up more than two earned runs only once in his first eight starts and looked to be cruising with a 7-0 lead in the sixth, only to be lifted after Mark Reynolds’ run-scoring triple and RBI doubles by Eric Byrnes and Carlos Quentin in a four-run sixth.
“We had a long inning (in the fifth) and I was sitting a long time, it was like 30 minutes,” Snell said. “I had no rhythm. The ball was all over the place and I left it up.”
However, a possibly bigger Arizona inning was thwarted when Quentin was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Nady while trying to score on Robby Hammock’s two-out single.
“I got a nice hop and was able to get a good grip on the ball,” Nady said. “They were putting up some runs, so to end it was nice. Any time you can contribute defensively, it’s nice.”
LaRoche doubled in the bottom half off Juan Cruz for his 15th hit in 13 games and scored on Jose Castillo’s groundout. Pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit hit the Pirates’ second three-run homer of the game, in the eighth off Tony Pena.
LaRoche has a .357 average in his last 13 games after hitting .133 in April. … Arizona LF Chris Young was lifted in the second with tightness in his right groin. RHP Edgar Gonzalez also was pulled, with a sore left groin, after he pitched a scoreless sixth. Both players will be re-evaluated Saturday. … The Pirates made a scoreboard salute to a 1960s-era pitcher who was in attendance, “Alvin Bean”—an incorrect reference to Alvin McBean, who won 15 games in 1962 and 13 in 1963. … Neither the Pirates nor the Diamondbacks play an interleague game until June 8—the Pirates at Yankee Stadium, the Diamondbacks at home against Boston.