The Pirates limped into the All-Star break having been swept by their cross-state rivals. Pedro Feliz poked a first inning grand slam and J.A. Happ limited the Pirates to one run on four hits and two walks in seven innings.
Virgil Vasquez didn’t live to see the third inning. After giving up five runs in the first inning, Vasquez put two on with one out in the second and was pulled for Jeff Karstens. The Pirates bullpen was stingy, allowing just two hits and one walk the final 7-2/3 innings of the game. Karstens tossed 3-2/3 of no hit baseball.
The Pirates offense consisted of an RBI double from Freddy Sanchez (who had two hits), knocking in Andrew McCutchen (who also had two hits) and a solo homer in the 9th from Garrett Jones.
Bucs can’t lose tomorrow.
Karstens was effective, whiffing four. Have to believe he will get another shot as a starter in the 2nd half.
Bucs hit into three double plays – one traditional, one unassisted DP at the hands of Chase Utley and one fake out job that got McCutchen doubled off first on a fly ball from Sanchez.
Vasquez got knocked around. I don’t think he’ll have too many more chances.
Jones has homered in three straight games.
Karstens lowered his ERA as a reliever to 2.70 with his effort today.
This was Happ’s first appearance against the Pirates. He is unbeaten in six decisions in 2009.
Bucs are 38-50 after 88 games. At the same point last year, the club was 41-47. Bucs need to go 44-30 the rest of the way to avoid a sub .500 season.