Pittsburgh, PA – A five-run fourth inning propelled the Pirates to a 5-3 win in the second test of a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals.
Alex Presley, Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and Clint Barmes all picked up an RBI for the Pirates, who have won five of their last six games.
Jared Hughes (2-0) tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win after starter James McDonald failed to go five innings. The Pirates pinch-hit for McDonald in the bottom of the fourth inning after he gave up three runs on five hits through four frames.
"They're big-league hitters. If you hang a pitch, they hit it," said McDonald. "So you can't just say it's all me making bad pitches. They put some good swings on balls and put together some good at-bats. I could have done better, but they also did a good job."
Vin Mazzaro (2-1) also struggled for Kansas City, allowing four runs -- three earned -- in three-plus innings. He struck out four, although he also walked four in Kansas City's third straight loss.
"I was just nibbling when I should have been attacking," said Mazzaro.
Mazzaro's poor control helped start the Pirates' rally in the fourth. He walked Pedro Alvarez and hit Jose Tabata. Rod Barajas then singled to load the bases. Barmes followed with a single to score Alvarez and end Mazzaro's night.
Kelvin Herrera forced pinch-hitter Matt Hague to hit a grounder Eric Hosmer, who tried to throw Tabata out at the plate, but Brayan Pena was unable to make the catch at home. Presley followed with an infield single to score another run, then a pair of groundouts by Walker and Jones capped the scoring.
Kansas City got on the board first when Yuniesky Betancourt deposited a 1-1 curveball into the left-field seats, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead.
The Royals picked up another run when Hosmer started the fourth inning with a double. After a flyball advanced him to third, he scored on a Mazzaro single.
Pittsburgh's bullpen pitched five shutout innings in relief of McDonald, allowing only four hits and no walks.
Joel Hanrahan retired the Royals in order in the ninth to earn his 17th save of the season.
The Pirates are 8-2 in games played on Saturday...PNC Park was sold out for the fourth time this season...The Pirates are a major league-best 11-3 since May 25...The Pirates bullpen has a 2.47 earned run average this season, second in the National League behind Cincinnati...The Pirates are 6-2 in two-run games...The Royals placed Felipe Paulino on the disabled list retroactive to June 7 prior to the game and recalled Nate Adcock...The Royals and Pirates wore the uniforms of the Negro Leagues on Saturday, with the Royals representing the Kansas City Monarchs and the Pirates paying homage to the Homestead Grays.