That could leave them with an extra bit of motivation in their final starts before the break.
The Giants have won 10 of Vogelsong's past 11 starts heading into Saturday's duel with McDonald, who looks to win his fourth straight outing while helping the Pirates avoid rare back-to-back home losses.
An unmitigated disaster while posting a 6.94 ERA in 33 starts spanning four seasons in Pittsburgh, Vogelsong's career has been reborn with San Francisco (46-38). After posting a 2.28 first-half ERA in 2011 to earn an All-Star spot, Vogelsong (7-3, 2.26 ERA) leads the NL in that category so far this season.
He didn't get the call this July despite going at least seven innings while allowing two or fewer runs in 10 of his last 12 starts. That's how long he lasted again Sunday immediately after manager Bruce Bochy told him he was left off the All-Star roster, yielding only a two-run homer and two singles in the Giants' 4-3 walk-off win over Cincinnati.
"He pitches with an edge. That works for him," Bochy told the team's official website. "He had the same focus that I've seen. That's why I talked to him early (about the snub); I didn't want him getting the news late. His focus was on the game today and he pitched another great game."
Vogelsong, who's pitching for the second time as a visitor at PNC Park, is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts against the Pirates (46-37).
McDonald (8-3, 2.45) hasn't been quite as consistent as Vogelsong, but he's won his last three starts behind an astounding 26 runs of support. He overcame a rocky first inning that featured three walks and a run to hold Houston to one more run over the next six in Monday's 11-2 win."Happy the way I recovered," said McDonald, who has the NL's fourth-best ERA. "I think that's the big difference between last year and this year. I would have let things start to spiral. This year, I'm better at recovering and picking myself back up and getting to it."
Run support hasn't been there when the right-hander has faced San Francisco. McDonald is 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA in four starts against the Giants as his teams have given him a total of one run of support.
The Pirates managed just one hit against Matt Cain on April 13 at AT&T Park as McDonald allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings.
He'll take the mound trying to help the Pirates avoid their first back-to-back losses at home since May 22-23. Pittsburgh led 3-0 after three innings in Friday's opener before the Giants scored five times off Erik Bedard in the fourth and snapped a three-game skid with a 6-5 win."After a tough series in Washington, one of our harder losses that we've had all year last night, flying in here, that's a great way to bounce back," Bochy said.
While Vogelsong and McDonald won't be headed to Kansas City, they'll each be pitching to an outfielder who is.
San Francisco's Melky Cabrera homered and singled Friday for his 25th multihit game in his last 50. He's the majors' second-leading hitter behind Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen , who tripled and had three hits to raise his average to .360 in his 12th multihit contest in his last 19.
McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez , who rank second and third in the majors in OPS since June 16, are a combined 2 for 15 with eight strikeouts versus Vogelsong.
|San Francisco Giants|
|June 26, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Strained neck|
|June 14, 2012||Aubrey Huff||Day-to-Day||Sprained right knee|
|June 11, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|June 07, 2012||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right hamstring|
|June 02, 2012||Santiago Casilla||Day-to-Day||Bruised knee|
|May 16, 2012||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left toe|
|July 05, 2012||Alex Presley||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 03, 2012||Alex Presley||Day-to-Day||Left game - concussion-like symptoms|
|June 30, 2012||Andrew McCutchen||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained left wrist|
|June 25, 2012||Rod Barajas||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left knee|
|May 30, 2012||Charlie Morton||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|May 10, 2012||Daniel McCutchen||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- James McDonald takes the mound every five days with a chip on his shoulder, eager to prove the Pittsburgh Pirates are legit.
"I want to be the guy that shows other teams that we're for real, that we do have quality players here," McDonald said.
He definitely made a statement on Saturday, scattering four hits over seven innings to win his fourth straight start and lead the Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants .
Mike McKenry hit a solo homer as the Pirates won for the ninth time in 11 games. They are guaranteed at least a share of the NL Central lead through the All-Star break, heady stuff for a franchise with 19 consecutive losing seasons.
Pittsburgh has a pair of All-Stars in center fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan , but McDonald made a pretty good case that he should be in Kansas City next week too after striking out 10 against no walks and lowering his ERA to a sparkling 2.37.
"(McDonald) had it all working today," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said.
On the mound and at the plate.
McDonald, who had Pittsburgh's only hit in a 5-0 loss to Matt Cain and the Giants on April 13, led off the third with a walk against Ryan Vogelsong (7-4) and made it all the way home on Neil Walker 's double to deep left-center field.
A visibly winded McDonald slowly made his way to the dugout after racing 270 feet on the hottest day in the 12-year history of PNC Park. He was briefly worried he wouldn't be ready to head out for the next inning when the skies opened up.
A 27-minute rain delay followed, cooling things off and giving McDonald a chance to regroup.
"The baseball gods must really like me right now," said McDonald, who added a single to in the fifth.
Hey, for once it's good to be a Pirate.
Walker finished with two doubles to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and Hanrahan worked the ninth to pick up his 23rd save.
Vogelsong was solid but not quite spectacular. He allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings.
"It happens," Vogelsong said. "Obviously he's having a good season and throwing the ball well. Going in you know it's going to be a tough game. He just pitched a little bit better than me today."
Ryan Theriot and Gregor Blanco had two hits apiece for the Giants, who have dropped six of eight.
"We got a good start from Vogelsong but we ran into one of the better pitched games we've seen," Bochy said. "They got some key hits there. We had trouble getting guys on base."
Bochy declined to speculate whether McDonald and Vogelsong - who began the day fourth and first in the NL in ERA - deserved to be All-Stars.
"You can't take 'em all," he said.
No matter, McDonald will certainly welcome the break after developing into a workhorse.
The 27-year-old right-hander who only made it through seven innings five times in the first four years of his career has now done it eight times in the last 14 starts.
Masterfully mixing his curveball with a fastball that rarely missed the strike zone, McDonald had little trouble with the Giants. He threw 77 of his 106 pitches for strikes and the Giants only managed to get the ball to the outfield five times against him.
"Straight As once again," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was very efficient. A couple of times when he got into jams, he found a way to get out of them."
McKenry's seventh homer of the season and fourth in his last 11 games gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in the fourth and it was more than enough for McDonald.
McDonald's only hiccup came in the sixth when Blanco singled with two outs, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a liner up the middle by Theriot, who hung in there after falling behind 0-2.
"Those things help you win ballgames," Bochy said. "But we just couldn't do much."
Pedro Alvarez provided some insurance in the sixth when he doubled home McCutchen.
McDonald quickly retired the side in order in the seventh before walking off to a loud ovation from the ninth sellout crowd of the season in a city that is quickly warming to the thought of Pittsburgh as actual contenders.
"Every day is a statement day," McDonald said.
Jason Grilli struck out the side in the eighth before Hanrahan - who was knocked around a bit recently - took advantage of some brilliant defense by shortstop Clint Barmes .
NOTES: The Pirates moved back to 10 games above .500 (47-37) and are now 8-0 at home on Saturdays this season ... The series concludes on Sunday when Tim Lincecum (3-9, 6.09 ERA) faces Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett (9-2, 3.74).