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Bucs McDonald a sight for sore eyes

Posted By Jim Keller On Sep 14 2010 @ 11:49 pm In Pittsburgh Pirates | No Comments

James McDonald is giving Pirates fans something to smile about.

McDonald pitched eight scoreless innings on Monday before Pittsburgh dropped a 1-0 decision to the New York Mets in 10 innings.

The 25-year-old allowed five hits and two walks while striking out four.  In his previous start, McDonald beat Atlanta with seven scoreless frames.

With 15 scoreless innings over two starts, J-Mac joins LHP Brian Burress as the only other Buc to make two consecutive starts without allowing a run this season.

Since 1960, five Pirates have gone three consecutive starts without yielding a run:  Lee Tunnell, Dock Ellis, Steve Blass, Jim Rooker and Woodie Fryman.  All three games for Blass and Fryman were shutouts.

James McDonald has been impressive [1]Since joining Pittsburgh, McDonald is 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA in eight starts.  He has allowed 19 runs, 45 hits and 18 walks in 49 innings with 45 strikeouts.

Considering that Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, Brad Lincoln and Charlie Morton have combined for five wins in 62 starts and the more experienced Paul Maholm and Zach Duke have combined for 27 losses and an opponents average against over .300, McDonald is a welcome sight.

McDonald was dominant in his first start against the Rockies in early May.  The 6-5 righthander struck out six of the first seven batters he faced, allowed just four hits over six scoreless innings in a 5-1 win.  McDonald finished with eight strikeouts against one walk.

Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington has concentrated on stockpiling starting pitcher hopefuls since taking over the reigns three years ago, but his acquisitions, including  Karstens,  Daniel McCutchen, Charlie Morton and Ross Ohlendorf who are a combined 5-31 thiave had little or no success at the major league level.

McDonald, obtained from the Dodgers in the Octavio Dotel deal, was the key player acquired Saturday in three deals made by Huntington. The Pirates traded five players – none of whom had a future with the ball club – and received McDonald, solid major league catcher Chris Snyder, a very good outfield prospect in Andrew Lambo and a trio of fringe prospects in RHP Joe Martinez, OF John Bowker and SS Pedro Ciriaco.

Notes: 2B Neil Walker had his 18-game hit streak snapped Monday.  It was the longest by a Pirates rookie since Rennie Stennett hit in 18 straight in 1971.

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