Votto’s Bat, Duke’s Arm Push Reds Over Bucs

Joey Votto stroked a two run double and hit a solo homer late in the game as the Reds took advantage of Zach Duke’s control issues to hand Pittsburgh their 98th loss of the year.

Duke went five innings and allowed five runs on six hits and five walks. He walked five hitters and two of them came around to score. Votto contributed a two run double in a three run fourth that put the Reds up 5-1.

The Pirates didn’t roll over. Delwyn Young hit a three run homer to put the score at 5-4. But Chris Bootcheck and newly recalled Anthony Clagett were each touched for tallies as the Reds pulled away.

Johnny Cueto was the winner. He allowed all four Pirate runs in six innings. He walked four and struck out six. With the the score at 7-4 and two men on, Nick Masset induced an inning ending grounder from Lastings Milledge. Francisco Cordero tossed a scoreless 9th for the win.

The Good

Young had three hits to go along with his three RBI.

LaRoche, still hitting number 2, had a double.

Andrew McCutchen stole his 20th base.

The Bad

Bad way to end an otherwise solid year for Duke.

Jason Jaramillo had a rough one. He whiffed three times, had a passed ball that allowed a run to score and hit into a double play.

The Rest

Cueto is now 6-2 in his career against Pittsburgh.

Welcome Anthony Clagett.

Brandon Moss walked three times – the first such game of his career.

Votto’s three RBI put him at 84 for the season, matching his 2008 total. His homer puts him in a tie for 10th all-time for homers hit by Canadian born players.

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Doumit Powers Pirates to Sweep

The Pirates are on a bit of a mini-roll. Three of four from the Dodgers and now two of three from the Cubs with the final game of the series tomorrow.

Ryan Doumit collected four hits and drove in four runs to back Jeff Karstens and a host of relievers. Doumit hit a two run double that broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning. He later added an RBI single and a solo homer, missing by a triple of the cycle.

Karstens needed 61 pitches to go five innings. He allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out one and whiffed none. He benefited from a couple of double plays behind him. Four relievers combined on four shutout innings of two hit ball to close out the game.

Carlos Zambrano was left with the loss. He was looking for his 10th win, but didn’t find it in the early Fall Chicago evening. He struck out six but gave up six hits and four walks in six innings.

The Good

A sweep and the Bucs have taken five of six for the first time in over a month.

Doumit’s big game.

The Bad

Donnie Veal was wild, getting just one out and walking two. He was rescued when Steven Jackson got a double ply on a line drive from Jake Fox.

The Rest

This was Doumit’s third four RBI game and his first since April of 2009. This was his fifth career four hit game and his first in over a year.

Karstens picked up a win for the first time since 6/10/09.

This was the fourth time in September that Brandon Moss drove in two runs in one game. He had just four games with two RBI heading into September.

This was the 7th time in the last 11 games that Andrew McCutchen collected two or more hits.

Pirates need to go 2-2 to avoid 100 losses.

Morton Fires Shutout at Wriglies

Turn about is fair play. At least that’s what they say. After being held to zero runs by Ryan Dempster on Tuesday night, Charlie Morton threw his first career shutout against the Cubs in the first game of a double header on Wednesday.

Morton allowed just four singles and three walks. He struck out a career best eight hitters. Ryan Theriot collected three of Chicago’s hits.

On the other side, Ted Lilly was troubled by a four run first. The Pirates collected three hits in the first and just three more thereafter. The outburst was triggered in part by Lastings Milledge aggressively breaking up a double play grounder that allowed Steve Pearce to be safe at first and scored a run. Jason Jaramillo followed with a two run, two out double for the second and third tallies. Brian Bixler’s single scored Jaramillo for the final run of the game.

Lilly struck out 8 in seven innings. He allowed five hits.

The Good

Morton’s effort.

Milledge going hard into second.

The Bad

Bucs whiffed 11 times overall.

The Rest

Morton’s previous career mark for whiffs was six, last accomplished 8/27/09 against Philadelphia. He had never pitched past the 7th inning before. He needed 119 pitches to complete the game. His previous high for pitches chucked in one game was 111, which he did in a six inning start for Atlanta last August.

This was Jaramillo’s first two RBI game since 8/31/09 against the Reds. Brian Bixler’s RBI was his first since April 26.

This was the 27th time the Pirates have struck out 10 or more times. Arizona leads the Show with 53 such games.

Dempster Shuts Down Buccos

Ryan Dempster tossed a complete game shutout. That’s all you really need to know. Beyond that, the details are that the Pirates defense – a low toss from Garrett Jones to Kevin Hart covering first and a miscue from Delwyn Young – allowed three unearned runs to score.

Dempster allowed five hits, walked two and whiffed five. Hart went four and gave up six runs (three were earned as previously noted). He gave up six hits and hurt himself with four walks.

Derrek Lee, Micah Hoffpauir and Jeff Baker drove in two runs each for Chicago.

The Good

The bullpen went five scoreless innings.

Andy LaRoche had a pair of doubles.

The Bad

The lack of offense is staggering.

The Rest

Dempster’s last shutout came in 2001.

The Pirates have been shutout 16 times in 2009. That’s four more than the next closest. Last time the Pirates were shutout with more frequency was 1985 when they were blanked 19 times.

Probably a toss up between Torii Hunter and Derrek Lee as to who the second best player was from the 1993 draft. The best was of course A-Rod.

Kemp’s Homer Paces Dodgers in Sweep

Matt Kemp hit a two run dinger in the sixth as Kevin Hart’s solid effort was wasted. Jason Jaramillo drove in the Pirates lone run in the second with a single. It stayed that way until Kemp’s homer. Ronnie Belliard hit a solo tater off of Phil Dumatrait in the 8th for the last score.

Hiroki Kuroda was the winner. He K’d seven, walked none, gave up six hits and just one run in six innings. Hart gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings of toil. But it wasn’t enough.

The Good

The starters have done a swell job in LA.

The Bad

The bullpen – not so much of a good job. Ditto the offense.

The Rest

The Dodger bullpen tossed 12 innings without allowing an earned run.

The Pirates whiffed 11 times overall. Steve Pearce was 0-4 but was the only member of the starting 8 not to strike out.

This was the 26th time that Pirate hitters have whiffed in double digits. Pirate pitchers have hit double digits just 9 times.

As Matt Kemp approaches 100 RBI, let’s look for the last home grown Dodger to reach triple digits. It was Adrian Beltre in 2004. Eric Karros (five times) and Mike Piazza (three times) each did it a bunch. Last farm raised Bucco was Aramis Ramirez in 2001.

Bucs Blow Late Leads Twice, Lose in 13

Matt Capps blew a save in the 9th and sent the game into extra innings. Phil Dumatrait did the same in the 13th and lost the game.

Pirates starter Zach Duke was on. He went 7-1/3 and allowed only four hits and two runs. He whiffed seven. He was in line for the win until Matt Kemp drove in Andre Ethier with two out in the 9th off of Capps.

The Pirates pushed one across in the 13th thanks to an error from Casey Blake and an RBI single from Ryan Doumit. But Phil Dumatrait, called on after gone and Rafael Furcal on first, gave up a two run homer to Ethier to end the game.

The Pirates scored three runs early as Steve Pearce homered and Duke had an RBI single in the second. Dodgers starter Randy Wolf allowed all three runs in seven innings on five hits.

Ethier’s dinger made a winner of former Pirate farmhand Ronald Belisario, who had given up the unearned tally in the 13th.

The Good

Pearce’s homer. We need to see what he can do over the final couple of weeks.

Duke’s effort was stellar.

The Bad

Blowing two leads.

Not getting any offense after the second

The Rest

That was Duke’s second 7 K performance in 2009. He has not struck out more than that since he was a rookie in 2005. Duke came into the game with an ERA over 7.00 against LA for his career.

Wolf is 7-1 in his career against Pittsburgh and had won his last four starts against the Pirates.

Ethier has 98 RBI and Kemp now has 92. The Dodgers haven’t had teammates with 100 RBI since 2001 when Gary Sheffield and Shawn Green did it.

Belisario has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances, covering 9-2/3 IP. His ERA is below 2.00 on the season, his first in the majors.

 

 

Dodgers, Garland Add to Bucs Woes

Jon Garland wasn’t sharp, but he didn’t allow the Pirates to have a big inning. The Bucs put runners on base in each of the first five innings, but only managed single runs in the fourth and fifth. Meanwhile, LA had matched that total coming into the bottom of the fifth when Andre Ethier hit a two run homer off of Daniel McCutchen to break a 2-2 tie,

The Dodgers added two more runs off the Pirates bullpen while LA’s relief corp combined for three perfect innings.

McCutchen allowed seven hits and four runs in five innings. Garland gave up three walks and six hits in six innings.

The Good

Andy LaRoche, hitting from the #2 spot, had two singles and scored a run.

The Bad

Daniel McCutchen didn’t pitch all too well.

Bucs have lost 15 of 17.

The Rest

Ethier now has 96 RBI. Assuming he gets four more, he will become LA’s first outfielder with 100 RBI in a season since J.D. Drew in 2006.

Each of the Dodgers starting 8 had at least one knock.

Garland has reached double digits in wins every year since 2002. This was his third career appearance and first career win against Pittsburgh.