Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Hit Too Many in Victory Mccutchen Exits in 1st after Taking Pitch off Elbow, but Morton Rebounds for Win Pirates 8, Braves 4

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Hit Too Many in Victory Mccutchen Exits in 1st after Taking Pitch off Elbow, but Morton Rebounds for Win Pirates 8, Braves 4

Article excerpt

Andrew McCutchen spun away from Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran's inside fastball, but couldn't dodge it. He wore 92 mph on his left elbow and doubled over, grimacing, as trainer Todd Tomczyk rushed out of the Pirates dugout. It was the first inning, and game over for McCutchen, the Pirates' star center fielder.

For the second day in a row, McCutchen was hit by a pitch. For the first time since 2011, one knocked him out of a game early. X- rays showed no structural damage, but McCutchen was still smarting after the Pirates' 8-4 win Saturday at PNC Park.

"I don't know, maybe I need to drop-kick a pitcher," McCutchen said with a wry smile. "Maybe that'll scare them into not throwing me in.

"I hate getting hit, but worse than that I guess pitchers don't like getting their ERAs run up with a fastball over the middle of the plate I can do damage with. I'm sure they'd rather hit me than do that."

The Pirates didn't take kindly to McCutchen's plunking. They tagged Teheran for five runs in the first, and right-hander Charlie Morton returned to form as the Pirates improved to 10-0 this season in afternoon games at home, though this one stretched into the evening after a 31-minute rain delay stalled action in the fifth.

Manager Clint Hurdle said he felt a change in the air after McCutchen went down.

"It gets everybody a little bowed up," he said. "It was a real nice push for our guys to answer in that fashion."

Starling Marte shifted over to center field, his natural position, in McCutchen's absence and collected three hits, upping his batting average to .460 in his past 12 home games. He also scored three times, including a steal of home in the fifth.

Pedro Alvarez, Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer knocked in two runs apiece.

Morton was sharp most of the game. He pitched into the seventh, relying heavily on his breaking ball and changeup, but Jace Peterson chased him with a bases-clearing double. Five days after imploding for nine runs in two-thirds of an inning on a steamy afternoon in Washington, Morton's final line read 10 hits and four runs allowed in six innings. …

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