Pirates Bill Mazeroski back on the bench in the Pirates dugout against the Twins at PNC Park.
By Bill Brink Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Once again, members of the Pirates' lineup that stayed quiet in recent weeks caused a ruckus at the plate.
Josh Harrison and Clint Barmes followed the pattern set by Pedro Alvarez over the weekend, interrupting a string of poor performances with a good offensive night.
Harrison and Barmes backed a solid outing by Kevin Correia that gave the Pirates their third win in a row, a 7-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The Pirates scored at least six runs for the fifth time in their past seven games. The run support, all but non-existent in April, has increased in recent weeks: Entering Tuesday's game, their 75 runs in June tied for third in the National League.
Harrison, who entered Tuesday on a 2 for 23 streak in his past 13 games, hit a ball high in the air to left field in the first inning. Josh Willingham momentarily lost it in the sun, then tracked it to the wall. It hit the top of the wall, appeared to ricochet off Willingham and bounced into the stands for Harrison's second home run of the season.
Harrison scored the Pirates' next run in the fifth. He singled and stole second before Andrew McCutchen walked, and they ended up on second and third after a double steal. Casey McGehee's sacrifice fly scored Harrison and gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Pedro Alvarez singled in the sixth and took off for second on the pitch to Barmes. Barmes doubled to the gap in right-center, his third hit of the day, and Alvarez scored to put the Pirates ahead 3-0.
In his past 10 games prior to Tuesday, Barmes had six hits, only one for extra bases, in 34 at-bats. The double raised Barmes' average to .200 the first time this season it crested the .200 mark.
Matt Hague's pinch-hit groundout scored Barmes to put the Pirates ahead 4-0.
The Pirates capitalized on the Twins' bullpen after forcing starter Scott Diamond from the game in the sixth. A two-run homer by Andrew McCutchen, a high pop fly that curled around the left-field foul pole, put the Pirates ahead 6-2 in the seventh, and Rod Barajas' sacrifice fly increased the Pirates' lead to 7-2.
Correia kept the Twins on the ground and stifled their offense for the majority of his 5/13 scoreless innings. He induced 12 ground-ball outs, compared to two in the air, walked one and struck out two.
The Twins fouled off a good number of pitches from Correia, elevating his pitch count to 97. He faced two eight-pitch at-bats in the third inning and an 11-pitch marathon against Denard Span in the fifth.
Correia walked Ben Revere in the sixth and allowed a single to Josh Willingham before manager Clint Hurdle removed him for Tony Watson, who faced the left-handed Justin Morneau. Watson got Morneau to fly out, but walked Trevor Plouffe on four pitches to load the bases. Watson struck out Ryan Doumit swinging, though, to strand the runners.
Juan Cruz allowed a two-run home run to Span in the seventh inning.