Game #84: Longballs Lead to Victory

Great American Ballpark | 7:10 | Van Benschoten vs. Daryl Thompson | Box
The Pirates and Reds combined for six home runs. Neither starter was very effective. John Russell should be credited with the move of the game. He pulled John Van Benschoten with one gone in the third after Van Benschoten had given up five runs and three homers. Russell did this despite a pitching staff that was already plagued with issues and got more bad news – Matt Capps was put on the DL.
Dusty Baker left Daryl Thompson in for 5-1/3 innings and he was hit for seven runs.
The Pirates gave JVB a four run first inning to work with four consecutive hits that was followed by two straight RBI groundouts. By the end of the second, the Pirates were down. Jay Bruce had hit two homers and driven in four and Adam Dunn had also homered.
After Van Benschoten was pulled, Xavier Nady homered in consecutive at bats to put the Pirates up 7-5. That was all that was needed, but the Bucs tacked on two late runs. Adam LaRoche tripled home one run and Jose Bautista added a solo jack.
Denny Bautista showed no ill effects from being hit in the arm earlier this week. He was the first man out of the bullpen and he tossed 3-1/3 innings of scoreless ball to pick up the win. Overall the bullpen tossed 6-2/3 innings of two hit ball.
LaRoche had his third straight multi-hit night – it is July after all. With three more hits and three more RBI, Nady continued to make his All-Star case.

Pre-Game Thoughts
Daryl Thompson is a righty of medium build. He throws a low 90s fastball with a curve and a change up. He was 6-4 in the minors in 2008, splitting time between AA and AAA. He is 22 and made his ML debut in late June at Yankee stadium. He made another start in Cleveland and this one will be his third. After tossing five scoreless innings against the Yanks and getting a no decision, he gave up four runs in five innings against the Erie Warriors and suffered the loss. This will be his first match against the Pirates, quite obviously.
With a win tonight, John Van Benschoten can establish a single season career best with two wins. Not exactly glowing stuff for a former first round pick. Van Benschoten won his last appearance with a scoreless inning of relief. He was clobbered in his only start of 2008, giving up six earned runs in four innings against Atlanta on May 12.
JVB has never pitched against the Reds. Jeff Keppinger is the only Red to have faced him and he is 1-1 with a double.
I don’t know if this is role reversal or what. But it isn’t often that a team expected to contend puts a Pirate reject on its roster. That is what has happened with the Mets as Tony Armas started and won yesterday against the Cardinals. He went six and gave up four earned runs. Not to disimilar from what he did last year.

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