Great American Ballpark | 7:10 | Maholm vs. Harang | Box
It wasn’t supposed to end like this. Adam LaRoche had a three hit night – his second in the last week – and drove home three. Paul Maholm gave up just two runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings of solid effort.
But it was undone with one swing of the bat. David Ross hit a lead off double in the home half off the ninth. Griffey pinch hit and popped one over the wall in left center off Matt Capps to end it.
The sad/bad part of this is that the Pirates failed to add an insurance run in the 9th despite ample opportunity. Jose Bautista walked to lead off the inning. Jack Wilson was HBP. After a successful sacrifice from Freddy Sanchez moved the runners up, Jason Michaels whiffed. Jason Bay walked to load the bases. But Francisco Cordero induced an inning ending grounder from Ryan Doumit.
As Matt noted in the comments, Maholm hit 8th and Wilson was moved to the nine hole.
The second half of the season starts in Cincinnati. Paul Maholm last tossed against the Reds on April 11. That was when even the most jaded Bucs fan was still optimistic. Maholm blanked the Reds over 5-1/3 in that outing.
Maholm has won his last three decisions and hasn’t been beaten since May 20. In 11 career starts against the Redlegs, Maholm is 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA. He is winless in six starts (0-2) with an ERA of 5.91 at Great American.
The Reds are hitting over .300 against Maholm collectively. Brandon Phillips is 9-23 with three homers and seven runs knocked in. Edwin Encarnacion is 11-26 with six RBI. Adam Dunn is just 3-22.
The Pirates are very familiar with Maholm’s opponent, Aaron Harang. He has pitched into some tough luck. He is 3-10 on the year. His ERA is about league average, but has swelled by nearly half a run in his last two starts after he gave up 10 earned runs in 10-2/3 innings pitched. According to Baseball-Reference.com, the Reds are supporting Harang with just 3.26 runs per 27 outs.
Harang was beaten by the Pirates on May 29. Overall he is 11-4 with a 4.30 ERA against Pittsburgh. This will be his 19th career appearance (all starts) against the Pirates. Those 11 wins and 19 starts represent career highs against any one club.
In 253 at bats in total, the Pirates are hitting .277 against Harang. Jason Bay is 17-43 with five homers and nine RBI. Jack Wilson (15-42) and Xavier Nady (9-24) also do very well. Combined Freddy Sanchez, Jose Bautista and Adam LaRoche are just 16-79 off Harang.
Bay is hitting .374 with 14 home runs at GABP.