Gallardo Pitches, Hits Brewers Into Sweep

It was a Ruthian effort. Yovani Gallardo allowed zero runs and whiffed 11 in seven innings and hit a solo jack for the only run of the game.

Ian Snell was the hard luck loser. He matched Gallardo’s zeroes through six innings before allowing the solo homer to the opposing pitcher.

The Pirates didn’t have a base runner until Andy LaRoche doubled in the fifth. The Pirates put two runners on in the 7th courtesy of an error and a walk. Both were stranded, obviously.

The Good

No complaints about Snell. He whiffed Ryan Braun thricely.

The Bad

Swept.

Gallardo is good, but is he that good? Let’s hope that Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit come back soon.

The Rest

Former Bucco Chris Duffy collected his first hit since 7/27/07.

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Another Blown Lead, Another Brewer Win

The Pirates gave Paul Maholm a 5-1 lead to work with. And for a while it looked like it might hold up. Maholm left the bases full of Beer Makers in the third and fourth innings. But the wheels came off in the fifth and sixth.

After scoring twice in the fifth, Bill Hall led off the home half of the sixth with a solo homer to make it a one run game. One out later, Craig Counsell singled and Maholm was pulled in favor of Jesse Chavez. He was greeted by Rickie Weeks who lined a two run, go ahead homer just over the wall in left field. That put Milwaukee up for good.

The Milwaukee pen allowed just one Pirate runner over the final four frames.

Jason Jaramillo and Eric Hinske each drove in two runs for the Pirates to pace the early innings attack.

The Good

No complaints about the production from Jaramillo. He hit his fifth double and drove in two. His BA is a nice .345.

Milwaukee was 1-9 with RISP. This could’ve been much worse. Of course, Bucco hitters were just 2-9. So, maybe it could’ve been better.

The Bad

Bucs hurlers gave up nine walks.

Pirates have dropped an unbelievable 17 straight at Miller Park.

Andy LaRoche’s hitting streak was snapped at 11 games.

The Rest

Clearly Jerry Crasnick’s story has jinxed the Pirates pitchers.

It tells you how far he has fallen in the batting order – Jason Kendall drew his third IBB of the season. That gives him 10 free passes in the past two seasons. Between 2001 and 2005 he was walked intentionally a total of 10 times.

Long Balls Doom Bucs

The Pirates took an early lead, fell behind quickly, tied it up late and lost it in regulation.

The Bucco offense plated two in the first in support of Jeff Karstens. It might’ve been more, but Freddy Sanchez was thrown out at home on a single from Adam LaRoche.

But, Karstens quickly allowed the Beer Makers to take the lead. Solo homers in the first (Ryan Braun) and third (Mike Cameron) formed the bread of a three run homer sandwich that came in the second off the bat of Rickie Weeks.

The Pirates eeked back into it with an RBI from Eric Hinske in the fifth and a game tying two run double from Freddy Sanchez with two out in the 8th.

But the wheels came off the bullpen in the 8th. Tyler Yates walked Bill Hall to start then inning, then plunked Jason Kendall (his second HBP of the game). Craig Counsell (from Notre Dame) delivered a sac bunt and the go ahead run scored on a fielder’s choice grounder from Weeks. John Grabow relieved Yates and gave up a two run double to Corey Hart. All told, Milwaukee tallied five times in the 8th to put the game away.

Todd Coffey was the winner, having recorded the last out in the top of the 8th.

The Good

No complaints about the offense. 11 hits and four walks would be enough to win most games.

Nyjer Morgan had two singles and a walk and scored three times.

The Bad

Karstens was uneven. He allowed five hits and five runs in five innings and all five hits were for extra bases – three dingers, a double and a triple. It could’ve been worse, actually

The bullpen imploded in the 8th.

Pirate pitchers walked 8 Brewer hitters.

The Rest

Trevor Hoffman finished the game for Milwaukee, making his 2009 debut. Last time he pitched for a team other than San Diego was 6/22/93. I was heading into my final year of college.

This was the 10th time in his career that Kendall was HBP twice in the same game. Last time was 7/17/05 when he was with Oakland.

Ohlendorf, Adam LaRoche Take Series from San Diego

Ross Ohlendorf settled in after allowing a two run bomb to Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning. He pitched into the 8th and gave way after giving up a pinch hit homer leading off the 8th to Edgar Gonzalez.

The Pirates offense worked early off Jake Peavy to erase the 2-0 deficit. Robinson Diaz drove in a pair of runs in the fourth with a two out single. Adam LaRoche hit a three run dinger in the next frame to break the tie.

Freshly recalled Brian Bixler stroked a two run double in the 8th and LaRoche homered again (solo) in the 8th for the final tally.

Ohlendorf gave up just five hits in his 7+ innings. He walked three and whiffed two.

The Good

Ohlendorf’s effort will be accepted all year long. Count me surprised at the early impact of the pitching staff.

Adam LaRoche is not just having a decent April. He’s actually having a good April. I was hoping for something other than a total bust. This is June/July type of production from him.

Don’t look now buy Andy LaRoche’s average is up to .264 after a 2-5 day.

Bucs travel to Milwaukee for three more games to close out April. With today’s win, the Pirates have guaranteed a winning April.

The Bad

Nyjer Morgan was CS for the second time this year.

The Rest

The middle of the Pirates infield included four guys who were not Opening Day starters at those positions- Robinson Diaz (C), Brian Bixler (SS), Ramon Vazquez (2B) and Morgan in CF.

This was the earliest two homer game in the season in LaRoche’s career. He had two dingers for Atlanta on 5/28/06. But he had never cranked two in April.

According to baseball-reference.com, Ohlendorf has been giving up more fly balls than ground balls. Today he retired 15 hitters on grounders and just three on fly balls. That’s good news.

John Grabow finished with two innings of work. It was his longest outing since 7/27/08, also against San Diego.

Giles Beats Pirates in 11

It went late out West. 11 innings and nearly 3:45 of baseball later, Brian Giles sharp liner down the right field line scored Chris Burke with the winning run.

Kevin Correia and Ian Snell both went five innings and allowed three earned runs. Snell walked five and gave up five extra base hits. So, it could’ve been much worse. He snagged a liner up the box by Jody Gerut with the bases loaded and two gone in the fourth.

The Pirates got him off the hook with two runs in the sixth. The Pirates left the bases loaded in the sixth with Jack Wilson striking out to end the threat. Then the bullpens took over. The Pirate relievers allowed just one hit during the next five innings.

In the 11th, Matt Capps walked Chris Burke and David Eckstein in front of Giles game winning, two out hit.

The Good

Nice work by the bullpen. Jesse Chavez continues to be used in tight situations, being the first guy out of the pen in a tie game.

The Bad

Snell was a tad uneven. He kept the team in the game.

Njyer Morgan was picked off first base after leading off the first with a single. I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

The Rest

Former Bucco Jody Gerut hit lead off for SD and was 0-6.

This was Ian Snell’s first ever two hit game. He drove in the Pirates first run.

Bucs Sweep Marlins

The Pirates have taken the Marlins for three straight games. The offense was powered by the LaRoche brothers. Adam had four hits and three doubles and Andy drove in two runs.

Paul Maholm retired the first nine Marlin clubbers before struggling through innings 4-6 by giving up four runs and eight hits. The bullpen combined four pitches to toss three shutout innings.

Maholm departed after six with the score tied at four. But newcomer Delwyn Young doubled with one out as a pinch hitter. He scored on a single from Nyjer Morgan. The Bucs OF took second on the throw home. He then stole third and scored on a throwing error from none other than Ronny Paulino.

The Good

Maholm has won three straight starts for the second time in his career and the first time since August 2007.

Adam LaRoche’s BA is above .300. And it is April.

The Bad

I got nothing

The Rest

Bucs have a travel day tomorrow to travel to SD and then MIL.

Karstens Topples Marlins

Tough to argue with the result as the Pirates moved two games over .500 on the year. Jeff Karstens was good over 6 plus. The Pirates put up a single tally in each of the first three innings and the pitching made it hold up.

Karstens scattered two singles, a double and two walks in six innings. He yielded just one run. Freddy Sanchez homered and doubled to drive the offense.

Cameron Maybin homered in the 8th to narrow the lead to 3-2 and Florida stranded two runners later in the inning.. Matt Capps tossed the 9th to get the save.

The Good

Two games over .500!

Karstens continues the string of nice starting pitching efforts. He was even interviewed on Baseball Tonight.

Three double plays from the defense, including one to end the game.

Jason Jaramillo doubled in a run (it was thisclose to a homer) and threw out Maybin trying to steal. Nice job. He’ll be seeing a lot of action with Ryan Doumit being out with a broken bone in his wrist.

The Bad

Blame the NHL and the poor weather for the attendance (less than 10,000 paid). While you can.

The Rest

Was anyone there tonight? Ronny Paulino played. Was he booed? Cheered? Ignored?