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Andrew McCutchen leads way to 10-1 Pirates win over O's

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Andrew McCutchen had one of the best nights of his career Tuesday, hitting a pair of home runs and driving in eight in a 10-1 lopsided victory over the Orioles.

THE BIG STORY

There are very things Andrew McCutchen has not done on a baseball field. Still, even after the MVP, WBC gold medal, three homer games and countless sliding catches, he still has a baseball “bucket list.” Near the top that list was hitting a grand slam.

He came up to the plate for his 98th career plate appearance with the bases loaded in the second inning Tuesday with that goal on his mind.

"I was thinking about it before I came up to bat. I can’t help but think about it," McCutchen said.

The 98th time was a charm: launching a 412 foot shot into the seats in right-center. The distance was fitting, with this being potentially his final home series as a Pirate. And as Trevor Williams pointed out: “Everyone in that dugout knew it was his first.”

"His facial expression on the trip around the bases said it all,” Clint Hurdle said.

The look was equal parts joy and relief, with his arms stretched out in celebration around the bases. It took him 5,018 at-bats before his 202nd career homer brought home four runs.

But his night was not over yet. McCutchen was a triple away from the cycle when he came to the plate in the sixth inning. He ended up just missing out on a potential triple because it went just over the Clemente wall in right for a three run homer.

He was not too bummed out that the second dinger went out rather than rattle around the field. “That homer looks a lot better than that triple,” McCutchen said.

So what’s left on the bucket list?

“I ain’t robbed a homer yet. Still haven’t done that. One day. It’s kindof hard here with 10 foot walls,” McCutchen said. “...A World Series would be great.”

HOW THEY SCORED

It was the Andrew McCutchen show Tuesday. His RBI double in the first put the Pirates on the board, and he came home immediately after on a Josh Bell double. McCutchen struck again in the second, hitting his first career grand slam to make it 6-0. Max Moroff, Adam Frazier and Starling Marte came in to score on the tater.

Gregory Polanco got in on the action with an RBI groundout in the fifth, scoring McCutchen. Chris Davis put a run on the board for the Orioles in the sixth with a solo home run to right-center, but McCutchen’s three run home run in the sixth put an exclamation mark on his night.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

The Pirates’ offense was jumpstarted when Orioles’ starter Kevin Gausman made a throwing error trying to pick-off Marte in the first. Marte advanced to third on the miscue and came home on the next pitch when McCutchen ripped a hanging splitter for an RBI double on an 0-2 pitch.

TOE THE RUBBER

Trevor Williams improved his record to 7-9 with a six inning, one run performance. He allowed three hits and a walk, and struck out six.

Williams’ entered with a 6.66 ERA with catcher Elias Diaz behind the plate, which is the worst he has out of the Pirates’ three primary catchers. Tuesday was the second consecutive strong outing between the battery duo, and Williams believes they are heading in the right direction.

“Diaz and I are getting better and better every game,” Williams said. “Knowing that we’re getting more comfortable with each other. We’re on the same page. We’re not reading different chapters.”

Williams threw 14 first pitch strikes to his 23 batters faced, had four three ball counts and retired nine on three pitches or less.

Steven Brault picked up his first professional save with three scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two singles and struck out a batter.

Gausman was tagged for six runs in four innings for the Orioles on five hits and two walks. He struck out five and falls to 11-11 on the year.

I SPY

35 of Brault’s 40 pitches were fastballs, but the pitch selection was not because he came in as a reliever as opposed to a starter. He has been relying on his heater a lot as a major leaguer, regardless of his capacity. “It’s been working for me really well up here,” Brault said. “...when I’m in good counts or tough situations, I’m gonna use it.”

LINE OF THE NIGHT

Andrew McCutchen: 4-4, 2 HR, 2B, 8 RBI, 4 runs

HE SAID IT

“It’s a cool rule. I like the rule now, now that it works for me.”- Steven Brault on the rule that completing the last three innings of a game counts as a save.

ON DECK

Wednesday will be the Pirates’ final home game of the season. Chad Kuhl (7-11, 4.31) will take the mound against Gabriel Ynoa (2-2, 3.41) at 7:05 p.m..

NUMB3RS

1. Williams’ 4.07 ERA is tied for the lowest among all NL rookie pitchers who have pitched at least 100 innings this year (tied with Kyle Freeland of the Colorado Rockies).

2. McCutchen is the first Pirate to drive in eight runs in a game since Jason Bay on July 2, 2004. He is the first Pirates player with eight RBI and four runs in a game since Ralph Kiner on June 25, 1950.

3. The Pirates are 7-12 all-time against the Orioles in interleague play, but they are 6-3 at PNC Park.

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