Erik Bedard tossed seven strong innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates knocked off the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game interleague set at PNC Park.
Bedard (4-6) allowed just two runs on five hits and three walks to go with five strikeouts to earn the win. Jason Grilli worked a perfect eighth and Joel Hanrahan bounced back from a blown save on Thursday with a 1-2-3 ninth to claim his 16th save of the season.
"It was good to see him have his good stuff early," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He really had his changeup working. That's Erik being Erik."
Neil Walker went 3-for-4 with an RBI single, while Garrett Jones and Clint Barmes knocked in runs for the Pirates, who have won four of their last five
Yuniesky Betancourt and Mike Moustakas drove in runs for the Royals, losers in three of their last four contests.
Luke Hochevar (3-7) gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk while fanning three over six innings to absorb the loss.
"My focus was to try and make good pitches, attack and get them more into swing mode," said Hochevar. "That way I could keep my pitch count down and get deep into the game."
Pittsburgh grabbed the early lead with a run in its first at-bat and did not let it go. Walker ripped a one-out base hit and moved to second on a groundout by Andrew McCutchen before hustling home on a double to right by Jones.
Rod Barajas began the Pittsburgh second with a single and moved to second courtesy of an error by Eric Hosmer in right field. Barmes then slapped a base hit into center to score Barajas. Barmes was able to get to third on a sacrifice by Bedard and scored when Walker singled him home for a 3-0 lead.
Kansas City got back into the game with a pair of runs in the third. Alex Gordon drew a one-out walk and scored on a double to center by Betancourt. After Billy Butler flied out, Moustakas ripped a line drive base hit into left to score Betancourt and make it 3-2.
The Bucs got a run right back in the home half of the third to make it a two- run game. With runners on first and third and one out, Jose Tabata broke from first and was caught in a rundown when Hochevar stepped off and threw to first. Tabata stayed alive in the rundown long enough to allow Pedro Alvarez to score from third before being tagged out.
Hanrahan, who allowed the game-tying solo homer to Cincinnati's Ryan Ludwick in the ninth on Thursday, induced fly outs from Hosmer and Alcides Escobar before getting pinch-hitter Clint Robinson looking to end the game.
Prior to Friday's game, Kansas City recalled Robinson from Triple-A Omaha and optioned pitcher Ryan Verdugo to the farm club...It marked only the second time this season that Bedard has pitched seven innings...Friday's game marked Hochevar's first career start against the Pirates. He is 4-4 in his career against the National League...Pittsburgh went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.