PITTSBURGH – Andrew McCutchen took in the moment on Friday. He fought back the tears he knew would come and settled in for his first at-bat at PNC Park with Pittsburgh in more than five years.
The veteran outfielder could see well enough to lash a single to right field, the start of a 19-hit barrage by the Pirates in a 13-9 victory over the Chicago White Sox that served as an emotional homecoming for McCutchen and – Pittsburgh hopes – a sign of things to come.
Particularly if the group McCutchen was brought in to mentor can keep taking steps forward.
“We know what we’re capable of,” McCutchen said. “We’ve just got to keep believing in each other.”
Bryan Reynolds continued his torrid start by driving in six runs. The left fielder is now the best player on the team the way McCutchen was a decade ago. Yet he had never played in front of a crowd that large at PNC Park, many of them wearing black at McCutchen’s request in a nod to the team’s brief run of three straight playoff appearances from 2013-15.
“It was fun to play in front of a stadium like that,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully, we’ll keep rolling and it’ll be like that more often.”
Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the third and a bases-clearing triple in the fifth. Reynolds popped up and raced home when the relay throw from Chicago second baseman Elvis Andrus skipped by third baseman Yoán Moncada. Reynolds’ five home runs this season are the most by a Pirate through seven games since Hall of Famer Willie Stargell in 1971.
“It’s special anytime you’re in same sentence with somebody like that,” Reynolds said.
McCutchen, who signed a one-year deal in January to rejoin the team he starred for earlier in his career, went 2 for 5 in his first game at PNC Park as a member of the Pirates since September 2017.
The five-time All-Star and 2013 National League MVP received a loud ovation when he stepped to the plate in the first as the designated hitter. Home plate umpire Ryan Wills, making an exception to MLB’s new pitch-clock rules, allowed the 36-year-old McCutchen to appreciate a day he had been anticipating since he rejoined the club.
“It’s a special moment, special day for me,” McCutchen said. “It’s one I’m going to remember.”
Connor Joe tied a career high with four hits. Reynolds, Ji Hwan Bae and Jason Delay had three hits each for Pittsburgh. Dauri Moreta (1-0) worked two scoreless innings for his first major league win.
Luis Robert hit a pair of two-run homers for the White Sox. Oscar Colás added the first home run of his career in the ninth. Tim Anderson collected four hits and scored four times but Chicago was undone by another shaky pitching performance. The White Sox have allowed 12 or more runs in three of their last four games, dropping all three.
“I don’t have concern with the pitching, I really don’t,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “These guys have done it before, they’ve done it for a while now. It’s just one of those stretches. Obviously there are adjustments to be made.”
Lucas Giolito, who no-hit the Pirates in 2020, allowed seven runs and a career-high 12 hits in four innings.
“It was not good,” Giolito said. “We hit their starter really well. We were given leads and I kept giving them up, so it’s not good.”
Jake Diekman (0-1) fared no better in relief. He retired the first batter he faced in the fifth before letting the next four batters reach, including a go-ahead single by Delay.
Jimmy Lambert came on to face Reynolds, who laced a shot to the right-field corner to send the Pirates to their fourth straight victory.
Pittsburgh starter Rich Hill struggled as the White Sox pounded the 43-year-old’s variety of breaking pitches, most of which didn’t break 75 mph. Hill gave up seven runs and eight hits – three of them homers – in four-plus innings.
ON THE MOVE
The White Sox designated longtime reliever José Ruiz for assignment and called up right-hander Jesse Scholtens from Triple-A Charlotte.
Ruiz, 28, struggled in four appearances with Chicago this season. He gave up multiple runs in each of his last three outings as his ERA ballooned to 22.04.
The 29-year-old Scholtens allowed one run in three innings in his major league debut.
The series continues Saturday when Chicago’s Mike Clevinger (1-0, 0.00 ERA) faces Vince Velasquez (0-1, 5.79 ERA). Clevinger threw five shutout innings against Houston in his debut with the White Sox last Sunday.