Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Digest – are the Pirates making a charge?

The Pittsburgh Pirates are putting together a little bit of a hot streak in the NL Central. They’ve won four out of five games, and are now tied for third in the division with the Cincinnati Reds, just two games behind the second-place St. Louis Cardinals. After a 10-16 March/April, the Pirates are 17-14 since, despite actually putting together a *worse* run differential. After the Pirates leave San Diego following Wednesday’s game with the Padres, we’ll start to know more about their ultimate future – 13 of their next 16 games come against division rivals, and only three of those games are against either the Brewers and Cardinals.

Game of the Night: Marlins 3, Rays 1. On a night full of blowouts and zeroes, this game may have been the highlight. The Marlins put a three-spot on the board in the first inning off of Alex Cobb, and the Rays pitching staff quieted their bats over the rest of the game. The Rays got on the board in the fifth after Sean Rodriguez led the inning off with a walk, and Desmond Jennings doubled him home. Jennings was stranded at second, and that was the best Rays the chance would have to score more runs over the rest of the game. In the seventh, Jennings singled with one out, but Logan Forsythe grounded into an inning-ending double play. In the eighth, Kevin Kiermaier and Ben Zobrist hit back to back singles with one out, but were stranded following a fly out from Yunel Escobar and a ground out from Evan Longoria. Steve Cishek shut the Rays down in order, and Tampa Bay’s winning percentage dropped below .500.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Justin Masterson looked like his old self in Cleveland’s 3-2 win over Boston, allowing three hits over seven shutout innings, walking four and striking out ten. In the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over the White Sox, Clayton Kershaw gave up two runs on four hits in eight innings, punching out nine without a walk. Danny Duffy pitched very well in the Cardinals’ 6-0 win in St. Louis, striking out five in six innings while giving up one hit and one walk. Randy Wolf pitched like it’s 2002 in that Marlins win over the Rays, allowing one run on three hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking one. Matt Garza had a nice start in Milwaukee’s 6-2 win over Minnesota, twirling 6 1/3 shutout innings while allowing six hits, two walks, and tallying eight strikeouts.

Hitting Lines of the Night: In Seattle’s 10-2 win over the Yankees, Kyle Seager went 4/5 with a double, two triples, a homer, three runs, and three RBI. Teammate Michael Saunders slightly pitched in by going 2/5 with a homer and three RBI. and Jordy Mercer (Jordy Mercer!) helped the Pirates smash the Padres 10-3, going 4/5 with a homer, four runs, two RBI, and a walk. In the Mets’ 11-2 win over the Phillies (no extra innings!), Wilmer Flores went 2/5 with a double, a grand slam, and six RBI. Jonathan Lucroy pushed the Brewers to their win over the Twins, going 3/4 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI.

Other Games: NONE!

Today’s Games: Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals host the Phillies. Scott Kazmir and Hiroki Kuroda will duel in the Bronx. Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers host the Blue Jays. Gavin Floyd and the Braves host the Mariners. Tim Lincecum and Homer Bailey square off in Cincinnati. Henderson Alvarez and the Marlins take on the Rays. Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals host James Shields and the Royals. Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles take on the Rangers. Zack Wheeler and the Mets take on the Cubs at Wrigley. C.J. Wilson and the Angels take on the surprising Collin McHugh and the Astros. Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers host the Twins. Dan Haren starts for the Dodgers against the White Sox. Gerrit Cole gets the nod for the Pirates in San Diego.

National TV: Athletics-Yankees (7 PM, MLB Network), Red Sox-Indians (7 PM, MLB Network)

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.