Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run on Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Pirates took down the Minnesota Twins, 7-2, in the opener of a three-game interleague series at PNC Park.
Josh Harrison crushed a solo home run among his three hits and scored three times, while Clint Barmes added three hits, including an RBI double for the Pirates, winners in three consecutive games. Pedro Alvarez contributed two hits for the victors.
"I knew I hit it pretty well, but I thought it was kind of high," Harrison said of his home run. "Anytime you can get on base in your first at-bat, it gets you started on the right path."
Kevin Correia (3-6) tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the victory. He scattered four hits to go with a walk and two strikeouts. Juan Cruz allowed two runs in the seventh, but Chris Resop sealed the win with two scoreless innings in relief.
Denard Span accounted for the only runs of the night with a two-run homer for the Twins, who have dropped five of their last six games. Trevor Plouffe added two hits in the loss.
Scott Diamond (5-3) yielded four runs on eight hits with a strikeout and two walks in defeat.
Pittsburgh jumped on top in its first at-bat and never looked back when Harrison squared up a changeup from Diamond and sent it just over the wall in left field for the 1-0 advantage.
Minnesota put the tying run on base in the third when Jamey Carroll began the frame with a base hit and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Diamond. Carroll then advanced to third on a groundout by Span, but was left there when Ben Revere grounded out to end the inning.
Harrison slapped a one-out single in the Pittsburgh fifth and stole second. McCutchen followed with a walk and both runners advanced on a double steal. Casey McGehee lofted a fly ball to center, which allowed Harrison to tag and score to extend the Pirates' lead to 2-0.
Revere drew a one-out walk, stole second and Josh Willingham knocked a base hit up the middle to put runners on the corners, sending Correia to the clubhouse for the night. Watson came out of the bullpen and got Justin Morneau to fly out before walking Plouffe to load the bases for Ryan Doumit, but the Twins catcher couldn't capitalize on a chance to burn his former team as he struck out to end the inning.
Pittsburgh added two extra insurance runs in the sixth. Alvarez led off the inning with a base hit and came around to score on a double by Barmes, who then trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Matt Hague later in the inning to make it a four-run contest.
The Twins got back in the game in the seventh when Brian Dozier got on with a single and Span smashed a fastball from Cruz into the seats in right to cut the deficit in half.
But the Bucs got three runs back in the home seventh to cap the scoring courtesy of a two-run shot from McCutchen and a Rod Barajas sacrifice fly.
"Every time we scored a run we came back and gave them one back," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Correia was good. We had a couple chances on him, but he shut us down and made pitches when he had to."
The Twins fell to 13-18 on the road this season and 9-32 when allowing first run of the game...Tuesday marked Doumit's first game against his former club since signing with the Twins in the offseason...Pittsburgh improved to 12-3 at home since May 12 -- the best mark in baseball over that span...These teams have not met since the Twins took two of three at The Metrodome in 2009...Minnesota went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.