Clint Barmes had gotten past the point of looking for a big hit.
“I just wanted any kind of hit,” the Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop said with a smile.
He got two of them Sunday, and both were important.
Barmes had a pair of run-scoring singles for his first two RBIs of the season, including a tiebreaking hit in the sixth inning that led the Pirates over Atlanta 4-2 for their third straight win over the Braves.
Barmes began the day with an .093 batting average and was in an 0-for-14 slide.
“I really haven’t been swinging the bat as badly as it looks,” Barmes said. “If some hard-hit balls had found some holes, then my average would be better. Still, I know it looks bad when you look at the average, and it’s tough to keep grinding and having nothing to show for it.”
Atlanta led 2-0 in the second when Pedro Alvarez singled and scored on Russell Martin’s double, and Barmes followed with a tying single.
“Clint had a big hit there,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We fell behind 2-0, and three minutes later we were tied again.”
Then in the sixth, Neil Walker singled leading off against Kris Medlen (1-2), advanced to third on Alvarez’s flyout and Martin’s groundout, and scored on Barmes’ single to shortstop. Andrelton Simmons gloved the ball near second but couldn’t get the throw to first in time as Barmes raised his average to .130 with a 2-for-3 day.
“I’m happy for Clint,” Hurdle said. “He works hard. All these guys work hard. I think having success builds confidence in anyone. I know when I have success, I start thinking I’m a little better than I really am. I’m sure Clint has to feel good about himself.”
Luis Avilan threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the seventh.
Atlanta has lost four of five following a 12-1 start and Medlen lost for first time in 29 regular-season start in which he was given a lead. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings with six strikeouts and one walk.
“We had the matchup we wanted there in the sixth inning with Kris against Barmes, and he just hit the ball to a spot where we couldn’t make a play on it,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Sometimes, it happens that way.”
Medlen admitted it was a frustrating way to fall behind.
“I made a pretty good pitch, and it wound up being a little infield single that decided the game” Medlen said.
Justin Wilson (1-0) got his first major league win by giving up one hit in 1 2-3 scoreless innings. He entered with the score tied in the sixth and induced an inning-ending double-play grounder from B.J. Upton.
Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth inning. Grilli entered the season with five saves and is seven for seven in chances this year.
Wilson, Grilli and fellow relievers Jeanmar Gomez, Jared Hughes and Tony Watson combined for six scoreless innings after Jonathan Sanchez needed 74 pitches to get through three innings. Sanchez allowed two runs and four hits, lowering his ERA to 11.12 from 12.96.
“We’re ready whenever we’re needed,” Wilson said. “We pride ourselves in that. Some days, it’s our job to pick up the starters. This was one of those days.”
After going 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the series, Atlanta went ahead in the second on consecutive singles by Chris Johnson, Reed Johnson, Gerald Laird and Simmons.
However, the Braves never scored again and stranded 10 runners.
“We’re not playing bad baseball,” left fielder Justin Upton said. “We’re just not capitalized on our opportunities right now. We’re not getting that big hit when we need it.”
NOTES: Atlanta 2B Dan Uggla (strained left calf) missed the game after being injured Saturday night but hopes to play Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Colorado. ... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman (strained right oblique) is expected to be activated from the DL Monday after a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett that ended Sunday. He went 5-for-10 with two doubles. ... Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton (elbow surgery) is to make his next rehab start for Double-A Altoona on Tuesday and LHP Francisco Liriano (broken bone in right upper arm) for Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday. ... LHP Mike Minor (2-1, 0.95) is scheduled to pitch for Atlanta on Monday against LHP Jeff Francis (1-1, 8.25). ... The Pirates open a four-game series at Philadelphia on Monday night with RHP A.J. Burnett (1-2, 2.63) facing RHP Tyler Cloyd, who will be called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Clint Barmes had gotten past the point of looking for a big hit.
Jones uses his attitude to lead Polar Bears
When you look around the football field come August, you’ll see plenty of new faces for the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears. But there will be at least one very familiar face.
TJ Jones is one of just a handful of seniors on this year’s Fairmont Senior team, and he’s hoping to go out on top.
WVU, N.C. State to meet in football
Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.
HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention
When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.
FSU football season tickets available
Season ticket packages and VIP parking for the 2014 Fairmont State University football season are now available for purchase.
Several options are available, including the opportunity to purchase a piece of Fairmont State history.
Pirates jump on Haren early, top Dodgers, 6-1
Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped on Dan Haren early in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Harrison’s two-run double down the left field line capped a four-run outburst in the first against Haren (8-8).
Berner, Hess lead W.Va. Open
Threatening weather did not strike Wednesday, and it was a cool, breezy start to the 81st West Virginia Open played on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting
West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.
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You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.
WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees
Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
“Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”
Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success
In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.
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