Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before: Bucs Shutout

Apologies to Morrissey and the Smiths.

Doug Davis and three relievers combined on an eight hit shutout. Davis went six and allowed five hits and three walks while striking out eight. Justin Upton’s fourth inning two run dinger off Ross Ohlendorf was all that Arizona needed as the Pirates stranded 10 and had Brandon Moss gunned down at home.

Ohlendorf was hurt by the XBH. He went six and gave up just six hits, but five of them were for more than one base. He struck out two.

The Good

I’ll take that from Ohlendorf

Garrett Jones had two hits

The Bad

Bucs committed two errors

10th shutout of the season

The Rest

Bucs were shutout 13 times in 2007.

Davis tied his season high with those 8 Ks. This was Davis’ first win against Pittsburgh since 8/9/07.

Upton homered twice in the series after not having homered since 8/7/07 in his first game against Pittsburgh.

 

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Snakes Pound Bucs Bullpen

The Diamondbacks scored seven times in their final two times up to pull away 11-4. With the game knotted at four, Evan Meek couldn’t hold back Arizona. Miguel Montero broke the tie with an RBI double and Chad Tracy cracked a pinch hit three run homer later in the inning – capping a five run 7th – off of John Grabow. Donnie Veal gave up a two run homer to Justin Upton in the 8th for the final scores of the game.

The Pirates did a lot against Dan Haren. They got to him for four runs in the fifth and he wouldn’t be out for the sixth. Garrett Jones had a two run double and Ryan Doumit followed with a two run homer.

That outburst put the Pirates up 4-1, but starter Charlie Morton couldn’t hold the lead. A run scoring triple from Stephen Drew was followed by a game tying homer from Gerardo Parra. Morton was pulled for Jeff Karstens after two more batters. Karstens retired four hitters without a run and he gave way to Meek to start the seventh.

The Pirates had no more hits once Haren was out of the game. Juan Gutierrez picked up the win in relief.

The Good

Getting to Dan Haren.

Jones had three hits and two RBI. Swing for the fences, Garrett!

Steve Pearce had two hits and a double in his first action since the Adam LaRoche trade.

The Bad

The bullpen. Ugh.

The Rest

Karstens has thrown 10 stright hitless innings over four appearances.

The homer was Tracy’s fourth career as a pinch hitter and second of the month.

This was Haren’s worst outing of the year. He had previously gone at least six in every start. He allowed four earned runs or more just once and that was in a seven inning outing in which he allowed five.

Jones has nine homers, but just 13 RBI. Record for fewest RBI in a season with at least 10 HR is former Pirate Dave Ross’ 2003 season (with LA) in which he had 10 HR and just 18 knocked in.

Happ, Feliz Help Phils Complete Sweep

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.

The Good

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.

The Bad

Offense.

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.

The Rest

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.

Ohlendorf Frustrates Cubs on Momentous Day

So why was this a momentous day? Two reasons:

1. The 100th anniversary of the opening of Forbes Field

2. For the second straight year the Pirates have traded away 2/3 of their starting outfield.

Ross Ohlendorf picked up his 7th win by tossing seven shutout innings to overshadow (at least temporarily) all of that. He allowed three singles, a double and no walks while striking out eight.

Freddy Sanchez played the role of a man picking up the empty pieces of an offense. He had a part in all three Pirate runs, driving in a pair and scoring the third. He also stole a base.

The Cubs didn’t threaten until they put two on with none gone against John Grabow in the 8th. But Grabow held on, whiffing Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome before getting Derrek Lee to ground out. Matt Capps pitched the 9th for the save.

The Good

A winning June. First one since 1996. Unbelievable.

Nice job by Ohlendorf. Second on the staff in wins.

Need more of that from Sanchez.

I have to say I’m happy thus far on the return for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett. Lastings Milledge seems to have been around for a while, but he just turned 24. The only member of the club younger than him is Andrew McCutchen.

Ted Lilly gave up all three runs to the Pirates. The first of which scored when Freddy Sanchez scored from second on a strike three when Geovany Soto’s throw to Lilly covering home went through the pitcher’s wickets.

The Bad

McCutchen is just 1-18. His first struggle at this level. Hopefully he works out of it soon.

Delwyn Young has two hits in his last 18 at bats.

The Rest

Ohlendorf established a single game mark for whiffs.

Welcome Garrett Jones who was brought up from Indy before the game. He didn’t appear tonight. He spent the better part of the last four years in AAA averaging better than 20 homers a year.

Lilly was 3-0 in his career against the Pirates coming in.

McCutchen Rallies Bucs Past Tribe

Anyone here not impressed by Andrew McCutchen. The Bucs rookie CF was involved in all three Pirate runs – scoring once and driving in two – as the Pirates erased a two run deficit against Cliff Lee.

Lee and Ross Ohlendorf each allowed two runs in seven innings of work. Neither got the decision. That would be left to the bullpens. Both relief corps walked the bases loaded in the 8th. For the Pirates John Grabow walked three but escaped when he whiffed Ryan Garko. Earlier in the inning Nyjer Morgan tracked down a long fly off the bat of Victor Martinez. Joe Smith walked two in 1/3 IP and Rafael Perez walked one, but got Jason Jaramillo to ground into an inning ending DP.

Matt Herges was on in the 9th but gave up three straight singles – to Jack Wilson, Eric Hinske and Cutch – for a walk off win for the Pirates. Matt Capps tossed the 9th for his first win of the year.

The Good

Have to be happy taking 2 of 3.

Ohlendorf was fine, allowing five hits and three walks in seven.

McCutchen has a 13 game hitting streak.

The Bad

The offense continues to gimp along. There was clutchness when it counted most tonight.

The Rest

This was the fourth time this year Ohlendorf pitched seven or more innings. Ian Snell has gone that far just three times. Jeff Karstens pitched seven or more just once in his 10 starts before being pulled from the rotation.

A scary thought hit me that Cutch’s start is too reminiscent of Chris Duffy’s hot start back in 2005.

Jack Wilson had his fifth game this year with three or more hits. He had just five such games in all of 2008.

Late Rally Falls Short as Tribe Prevails

The Pirates collected two hits in the first inning and four hits in the 9th. In between they had just two hits. For the first eight innings, they had no runs. But scored four in the 9th. Unfortunately, the Indians scored four early runs off Ian Snell (who lasted just 2-2/3) and tacked on one more in the middle innings off of Evan Meek to hold out.

Cleveland starter David Huff allowed three singles, two walks and a double in eight innings. He was lifted for Matt Herges (blast from the past). Herges got into trouble almost immediately, giving up a lead off homer to Adam LaRoche. Herges was replaced by Kerry Wood who allowed two more run scoring knocks before getting LaRoche the Elder to whiff with the bases loaded and two out to end the game.

Huff picks up his third straight win. Snell is the loser and Wood is nicked but gets the save.

The Good

Better late than never for the offense. But, sheesh.

The bullpen went 6-1/3 and allowed just one run and three hits.

Matt Capps struck out the side in the 9th.

The Bad

Too many opposing starters pitching too deep into games.

Bucs have a five game losing streak.

The Rest

This is the second time this year (15 starts) that Snell has failed to get more than nine outs. From 2006-2008 (95 starts) he had only two such outings.

Adam LaRoche is hitting .338 with three dingers in June. Typical LaRoche summertime heat wave.

After 70 games last year, Pittsburgh was 34-36. This year the record stands at 31-39.

Rockies Sweep Bucs

It was the McCutchen-Sanchez show early on as Andrew McCutchen and Freddy Sanchez turned a combined four hits into three runs. McCutchen tripled and scored in the first on a Sanchez single. One inning later, it was a two run blast by Sanchez that plated McCutchen. All that damage was done against Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa.

Paul Maholm was unable to do much with that lead. Colorado tied the score with three runs in the bottom of the second and then pushed across single runners in the third and fourth.

That was good enough for De La Rosa. He allowed an RBI knock to Brandon Moss in the sixth. In the end he gave up four runs in 5-2/3 innings. Colorado’s bullpen was perfect in 3-1/3 innings of work.

The Good

It is a three man race for the Pirates All-Star selection. I say it is between Freddy Sanchez, Zach Duke or perhaps Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen’s fifth triple of his young season ties him for the NL lead.

The Bad

Maholm has given up 13 earned runs in his last two outings.

Delwyn Young was hitless again, but did reach via HBP

The Rest

The Rockies are 18-5 under Jim Tracy. His best 23 game mark as the Pirates’ skipper in 2006 and 2007 was 15-8.

Welcome back Josh Fogg. He was unblemished against three hitter in relief of De La Rosa.

The Rockies swept four games from the Pirates in Colorado last July 17-20. The last Pirate win in Coors field was 8-23-07 behind Maholm.