Yet another offensive area in which the Pirates need major improvement is pinch-hitting. Their pinch-hitters entered Wednesday's game an NL-worst 7-for-51 (.137), and the two most frequent pinch-hitters (Nate McLouth and Yamaico Navarro) were hitless in 22 combined at-bats. Best? Casey McGehee, 3-for-6.
Since dropping the first five road games of the season, the Pirates haven't lost more than two straight, a stretch of games that reached 36 on Wednesday. The only two other clubs in the Majors to not have lost more than two straight since April 14 are the Braves and the Dodgers. But in the interim neither have the Bucs won more than three in a row (May 12-14).
Clint Barmes had his second two-hit game in the last four Wednesday, and is 5-for-11 in those games.
Jason Grilli, back from the bereavement list, fanned the side in the eighth, giving him 30 strikeouts in 17 innings this season.
Josh Harrison (1-for-4) stretched his hit streak to nine games, but Rod Barajas couldn't keep up as his ended at eight.
The Last Word: "Seriously, now I've got to start thinking about giving the kid a day off." -- Clint Hurdle on Harrison, who began the season looking for playing time, but has become a lineup fixture