After losing the last six of his seven decisions, Bedard allowed just two hits and struck out four batters before being replaced after seven innings in Monday’s shutout game against the D-Backs.
“He pitched exceptional tonight,” Clint Hurdle said of Bedard. “He did everything we talked about doing from the second half on.”
Andrew McCutchen also praised Bedard’s pitching explaining that he was happy that scoring the early run in the fourth gave Bedard some breathing room allowing him to go out and just pitch.
The run came in the bottom of the fourth as Andrew McCutchen reached third on a hit that should have been a single. Errors from D-Back’s shortstop Willie Bloomquist and center fielder Chris Young put McCutchen in scoring position and he crossed home after a Gaby Sanchez ground out gave the Bucs an early 1-0 lead.
Pittsburgh had the opportunity to extend the lead after loading the bases in the fifth, but Arizona got out of a jam as Josh Harrison grounded into a double play to end the inning.
With runners on first and third in the eighth, Neil Walker singled plating McCutchen who previously singled to center field. Travis Snider, on his first at-bat in Pittsburgh, hit an RBI single sending Gaby Sanchez home followed by a Rod Barajas sacrifice fly that sent Walker across the plate. Bucs added three runs of insurance and extended their lead to 4-0.
Chad Qualls retired all three batters he faced in the ninth and Pittsburgh took the first of a four game series.
Notable defensive plays came from Starling Marte and Josh Harrison. Marte stopped a double play with a terrific throw from left field in the seventh and Harrison made big plays from third keeping runners off the bases.
Arizona started Wade Miley who in six innings allowed six hits and one run, but struck out two Bucs’ batters.
Both ball clubs are looking to take first in their respective divisions, but could be battling each other for positioning in the NL wild card race.
The Pirates will take on the Diamondbacks for the second game of the series at PNC Park Tuesday, August 7 at 7:05 p.m. ET. Jeff Karstens will make his 11th start of the season for the Bucs and the Diamondbacks will start Patrick Corbin.