After a bleak first inning this afternoon, James McDonald knew who to turn to for advice.
“I had a talk with myself,” McDonald said. “I said, ‘You need to pick it up and keep your team in the game. Slow down. One pitch at a time. They got those runs and that’s all they’re getting.’ I motivated myself.”
It worked. In the first inning, McDonald allowed four runs on three hits, two walks and one hit batter. He was rushing himself and threw a whopping 38 pitches. But the right-hander zipped through the next 5 2/3 innings, allowing one more run on two hits. “He did an outstanding job after the first inning,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
»»» McDonald reached on an infield single with one out in the fourth. Jose Tabata singled, extending his hitting streak to 10 games — the longest active string in the majors.
Rockies righty Jhoulys Chacin then became obsessed with trying to pick off McDonald. Maybe Chacin was honked about giving up a hit to the opposing pitcher.
Whatever the reason, it wound up helping the Pirates. Chacin’s pickoff throw sailed into center field, sending McDonald to third and Tabata to second. Neil Walker rolled a grounder to first base, scoring McDonald to put the Pirates up, 5-4.
After the game, McDonald was mystified as to why Chacin kept up with the pickoff throws. It’s not like McDonald is a threat to steal.
“Maybe they were trying to tire me out,” McDonald said. “You never know, they could’ve caught me sleeping. But I wasn’t going anywhere.”