PHILADELPHIA -- Michael McKenry has certainly taken advantage of his opportunity for more playing time the past few days.
With starter Rod Barajas banged up with a bone bruise in his left knee, McKenry got his second consecutive start on Wednesday for the first time this season. He went 2-for-4 with a go-ahead three-run home run, a career-high four RBIs and a walk in an 11-7 win over the Phillies.
Through three games of the four-game series at Citizens Bank Park, McKenry is 7-for-11 with two home runs, a double and six RBIs. Before Monday, McKenry did not have a multi-hit game, though he had started just 21 times.
Manager Clint Hurdle praised McKenry for his hard work.
"That's the beauty of this game. Certain guys show up at certain times, you never know when," Hurdle said after the win. "Nobody's talking about him and now everybody's talking about him."
McKenry, who entered Wednesday's game hitting .224 with four home runs and eight RBIs on the season, said he's been working on relaxing at the plate.
"I think for the longest time, especially since I've been here and even prior to being here, I've put the weight of the world on my shoulders," he said before Wednesday's game. "I was trying to do too much and not allowing my ability to come out. And that's what I've been working on, just trying to allow it to play out. Just get in a position where I can get the barrel of the ball with a smooth easy stroke instead of pressing, trying to hit the ball as hard as possible very single time. Just trying to keep it easy, keep it fun and keep it simple."
The opposing team's catcher has also been swinging a hot bat this series, but that's nothing new as far as this season goes. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, who is 10-for-15 against the Pirates this season, entered Wednesday leading Major League Baseball with a .361 average.
McKenry said when he was going through the Draft process in 2006, many compared him to Ruiz for their similarities in height. Both are listed at 5-foot-10. That being said, McKenry said it's "awesome for me to see" Ruiz having this kind of success.
"I've always respected Ruiz, the way he handles a pitching staff, the way he catches," McKenry said. "He plays hard every single day no matter if he's having success or failure. It's awesome to see. It's not fun trying to get him out right now, but we're gonna figure it out. It's a special thing that's going on with him."
Versatile Sutton makes strong first impression
PHILADELPHIA -- Drew Sutton made a good first impression with the Pirates on Tuesday, hitting a pinch-hit RBI double to left field in the seventh inning in their 5-4 loss to the Phillies.
On Wednesday, he got his first start with his new club. Sutton, who the Pirates claimed off waivers from the Rays on Sunday, batted out of the two-hole and played left field.
The Phillies planned to use their bullpen the entire game on Wednesday, and left-hander Raul Valdes got the start. A switch-hitter, Sutton has hit much better against left-handed starters this season.
One thing he has not done this season is play the outfield. He's done it in the past, though. Sutton has played every position but pitcher, catcher and center field since breaking into the Majors in 2009.
"I knew when I came over here I was going to moving around a lot and playing a lot of different positions," Sutton said before Wednesday's game at Citizens Bank Park. "A good example is playing left field and hitting second, so we'll see what happens."
The left-handed-hitting Garrett Jones was not in the lineup on Wednesday. Jose Tabata started in right field. Additionally, Josh Harrison, another right-handed bat, started at shortstop.
Southpaw Moskos designated for assignment
PHILADELPHIA -- With Monday's injury to catcher Rod Barajas, the Pirates promoted Eric Fryer to back-up Michael McKenry for the time being. And with that decision, they had to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
The odd-man out was left-handed pitcher Daniel Moskos, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday. Moskos was the fourth overall overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
Moskos, 26, was 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 31 relief appearances with the Pirates in 2011. He didn't make the club out of Spring Training this season and was 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis before he was designated for assignment.
"In Danny's case, I think that this was a hard decision to make, but at the same time it could be an appropriate time just to bring closure to it and move on," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said on Wednesday. "He's given it everything he's got. He hasn't gotten probably the position in the organization that he'd like to be. Again, at the end of the day, I know he gave it everything he had. Sometimes things just don't work out. And they've got an opportunity to maybe work out for him somewhere else."
There is a chance he could return to the Pirates if no other club picks him up on waivers and the club decides to bring him back.
Catcher Rod Barajas, who suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in Monday's loss to the Phillies, said on Wednesday that his knee was feeling "a little better." Barajas did not play on Tuesday and was not in the starting lineup on Wednesday. The Pirates do not anticipate the injury to cause him to go on the disabled list.
The Pirates claimed Oscar Tejeda off waivers from the Red Sox on Wednesday and optioned him to Double-A Altoona. An infielder/outfielder, Tejeda has been placed on the Pirates' 40-man roster. Accordingly, left-handed reliever Doug Slaten, who was optioned on Tuesday, was designated for assignment.
Brad Lincoln will be available out of the bullpen on Wednesday. Lincoln was bumped from the starting rotation when Jeff Karstens was activated from the disabled list on Monday. He was 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA in 20 relief appearances this season before being moved to the rotation on June 6.
Pirates' top prospect Gerrit Cole, currently pitching for Double-A Altoona, was deemed available for activity on Thursday, according to the Pirates. Cole left Tuesday night's start after he was hit with two line drives in the first inning. After an examination on Wednesday, Cole showed no signs of a concussion. A CT scan was negative for any broken bones and his only symptom is a contusion on his jaw.
James McDonald got the pleasure of being the first pitcher in 2012 to face Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who started his first game of the season on Wednesdsay. Utley, who had been sidelined with chondromalacia in his left knee, entered the game 2-for-3 with two walks lifetime against McDonald.
Four of this season's first five meetings between the Pirates and Phillies have been decided by one run.
Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.