Maybe this really is the Pirates’ year.
All-Star Game snub James McDonald won Wednesday despite surrendering six runs to the Rockies in five innings at Coors Field. The Pirates knocked Jeremy Guthrie around for six runs in the first three innings and scored three more times in the fifth in a 9-6 victory.
McDonald became the first Pirates pitcher since Paul Maholm on Aug. 18, 2007 to give up six runs in a victory. It had happened just three times since 2000, with Josh Fogg (June 14, 2003 against the Rays) and Kris Benson (May 26, 2004) also accomplishing the feat.
McDonald opened the season with a stretch of 14 straight starts in which he allowed three runs or less, and he entered the All-Star break 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA. He’s struggled in back-to-back outings since, allowing 11 runs — 10 earned — in 9 2/3 innings.
Free agent first baseman Matt Adams has signed a one-year, $3 million pact with the Nationals, the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. The contract comes with a $1 million buyout on a 2020 option, bringing the total value to $4 million. Official confirmation is still pending completion of a physical.
The 30-year-old infielder will return to familiar turf in Washington after spending the first half of the 2018 season there. He was dealt to the Cardinals in late August for cash considerations and finished the season batting a collective .239/.309/.477 with a career-high 21 home runs, .786 OPS and 0.8 fWAR through 337 plate appearances for the two National League clubs.
Despite his impressive display of power, Adams experienced a significant decline at the plate over the second half of the season, batting well under the Mendoza Line as the Cardinals pushed for a postseason berth against the division-winning Brewers and Wild Card-contending Cubs. Still, he saw enough early success in Washington to merit a second look and should provide a sturdy backup to Ryan Zimmerman at first base in 2019.