Bay, Paulino power Pirates to fifth win in row

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Jason Bay's two-run home run, Ronny Paulino's three RBIs and Tom Gorzelanny's fine return outing lifted the Pirates past the Atlanta Braves, 5-2, tonight before 28,141 tonight at PNC Park.

The Pirates' winning streak is at a season-high five, and they have taken four of five from Atlanta this season, including the first two of this four-game set.

Gorzelanny, who had a turn skipped after his lower back strain April 30 in New York, pitched a season-high 7 2/3 innings and limited the Braves to two runs and seven hits. He struck out four and walked a season-low two.

Franquelis Osoria and Matt Capps finished it off, Capps notching his ninth save.

Gorzelanny and pitching coach Jeff Andrews seized the extra time between starts to address mechanical inconsistencies that led to 27 walks in as many innings.

"The main idea is for his entire body to remain in the strike zone," Andrews explained. "Gorz has a tendency to get toward the first-base side, go a little wide. We're drawing up a bowling analogy: Just stay in your lane. Stay within the width of the rubber, the width of the plate. Let the strikes take care of themselves."

Mark Teixeira took Gorzelanny deep in the first, a two-run shot, to get Atlanta a 2-0 head start.

But Bay took it upon himself to push the Pirates ahead ???

In the second, he doubled off Atlanta starter Chuck James, stole third and scored on Paulino's shallow sacrifice fly, beating the throw by diving past catcher Brian McCann and slapping his left hand on home plate.

After Jason Michaels opened the fourth with a single, Bay went right with James' outside fastball and sent it the opposite way, into the center-field seats to make it 3-2.

It was the seventh home run for Bay, now batting .480 -- 12 for 25 -- with seven walks in his past eight games.

Paulino came through again in the sixth. With two aboard and two out, he drove a double to the track in right-center to boost the lead to 5-2.

He now is 7 for 17 with runners in scoring position, and his three RBIs last night gave him 11 in just 49 at-bats.


Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com.


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