Virgil Vasquez recorded his first major-league victory, as the Pirates powered past the Royals, 5-3, on Friday night at PNC Park.
Vasquez, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace demoted Ian Snell, allowed two runs on four hits in six innings. Vasquez (1-0) struck out seven and walked two.
Nyjer Morgan, Jason Jaramillo and Jack Wilson homered for the Pirates, who have won three in a row on the heels of a five-game losing streak.
Andrew McCutchen scored two runs but went 0 for 2 and saw his 13-game hitting steak snapped in the first Royals-Pirates game in Pittsburgh in eight years.
Matt Capps allowed a home run to Mark Teahen in the ninth, and the Royals had the tying run on first. But Capps struck out pinch-hitter Mike Jacobs for his 17th save and first since June 14.
Gil Meche (4-7) allowed four runs in five innings in his first career start against the Pirates. The loss comes five days after giving up nine earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in a 12-5 loss to the Cardinals.
Vasquez, cut loose by Detroit, Boston and San Diego, retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced, allowing a two-out single in the third and a two-out double in the sixth.
The Royals used a leadoff walk and back-to-back doubles by Alberto Callaspo and Miguel Olivo to take a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
The Pirates tied the score at 2-all on Morgan’s two-run homer in the bottom of the third off Meche. McCutchen was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Morgan lined a deep drive in the right-field seats for his second home run of the season.
After hitting one home run in the first 498 at-bats of his career, Morgan has two in his past 32 at-bats.
The Pirates took the lead for good in the fourth inning on Jaramillo’s solo home run for a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth, McCutchen walked, stole second, took third on Morgan’s bunt single and scored on Freddy Sanchez’s sacrifice fly.
Wilson’s two-out homer in the sixth, curving inside the left-field foul pole, made it 5-2.