Paul Maholm was in control through six innings. The Pirates were leading 2-1 heading into the seventh, with Maholm having allowed just three hits. The wheels fell off in a three run inning that pushed Washington to victory. Josh Willingham hit a two run homer and Ronny Belliard and Alberto Gonzalez hit back to back doubles to push across a third run.
The Pirates were mostly stymied by Collin Balester (sounds like an Englishman’s name, doesn’t it?) through 5 innings. He ran into trouble in the sixth and was pulled with two out and two on in favor of Sean Burnett. Ryan Doumit was retired to end the threat and Burnett was the pitcher of record as Washington took the lead for good in the next frame.
Pittsburgh’s offense came swiftly. Ronny Cedeno cracked a two run homer off of Ballester and Delwyn Young homered off of Jorge Sosa.
Maholm went 6-1/3 and gave up four runs to fall to 6-6. Mike MacDougal pitched a scoreless 9th for the save.
Lastings Milledge had two singles.
Cedeno has hit in each of his three games for Pittsburgh.
Both Milledge and Andrew McCutchen were caught stealing.
The Pirates are now 45-59 through 104 games. They were 48-56 through 104 games in 2008. My feeling is that it will be downhill through the rest of 2009. Avoiding 100 losses might be tough.
This was the 7th straight game for Garrett Jones without a homer. That’s his longest streak of the season.
Maholm has dropped four of his last six decisions and has had his ERA jump by a full run over that span.
Bucs and Nats have a wrap around game tomorrow. Nats travel home to take on Florida on Tuesday. Arizona comes into Pittsburgh.