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.

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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.

‘Wild’ at Hart; Zambrano and Cubs Win Again

Monday: Bucs are two hit

Tuesday: Cubs collect 8 straight hits to start the game

Wednesday: Bucs starter Kevin Hart walks six in five innings

Anyway you slice it/describe it, the end result is another loss.

Taking advantage of the free passes, Chicago plated a single run in each of the first three innings. Then they two off of each of two Pirate relievers later in the game to finish the deal.

The benefactor was Carlos Zambrano who won for the first time in over a month. He whiffed 8 and allowed just two runs in six innings. The Pirates received a three run homer from Ronny Cedeno in the 8th, but as Pat Benatar once sung, “It’s a little too little, it’s a little too late.”

Hart gave up four runs on six hits and those six walks in five innings. Micah Hoffpauir and Koyie Hill each drove in a pair for the Wriglies.

The Good

We are getting closer to Ross Ohlendorf’s turn in the rotation

The Bad

Hah!

The Rest

It has been two years since the Pirates have beaten Zambrano. He is now 11-6 in his career against Pittsburgh and 7-1 at PNC.

Hoffpauir came into the game just 3-18 against the Pirates this year. Of course he had two hits and scored three times.

Pirates have lost 11 of 12.

 

Posted in 2009 Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Game Threads, Home, Kevin Hart, Ronny Cedeno, September. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on ‘Wild’ at Hart; Zambrano and Cubs Win Again

Bucs Can’t Overcome Duke’s Ugly First

Inventing new ways to lose nightly. That could be the motto for next year.

The Cubs opened the game with eight consecutive hits. The Pirates collected just nine hits all game and the Cubs had that many before anyone was out. Amazingly, Zach Duke actually survived that to pitch four innings and give up a total of 12 hits and eight earnies.

Virgil Vasquez got to mop up and the beneficiary of that support was Ryan Dempster. He gave up eight hits in 6-1/3 to get the win.

Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome each drove in two runs in the seven run first inning. Garrett Jones hit a solo homer for the Pirates – his 19th on the season.

The Good

Jones.

Five innings of two hit ball from the bullpen

The Bad

Are you kidding?

The Rest

The eight straight hits to start the game ties a record. Last time it happened was 9/25/90 when the Bombers did it to the O’s. The victims were rookie Anthony Telford (no outs and six hits allowed) followed by rookie Mickey Weston (gave up the final two hits before pitching three innings overall). Not sure if there is any significance in this, but Kevin Maas hit his 20th homer in that game for the Yanks. Not that I’m comparing him to Garrett Jones.

The first out in tonight’s game was a sac bunt from Dempster. That was kind of Lou Piniella. A groundout from Oscar Azocar was the first out on 9/25/90.

Back on 9/25/90, the Pirates were in the early stages of a seven game winning streak that would keep them ahead of the Mets on their way to the division crown. Also back then, no one knew who Barack Obama was. No one realized that the Rangers (and future president George W.Bush) had made a mistake by trading Sammy Sosa to the White Sox. Pete Rose was still denying his involvement in gambling on baseball. Memories…

 

Bucs Make Nary a Whimper in Record Setting 82nd Loss

Outlined against a blue-gray September sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction, and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Poor Player Development, Weak Amateur Scouting, Lopsided Trades and Ill-Advised Free Agent Signings.

Apologies to Grantland Rice…

If it wasn’t already officially football season in Pittsburgh, it is now. I think football season begins in the Steel City as soon as the Steelers start training camp.

It was an ugly gray day in Pittsburgh. I kept hoping that the skies would open up and the 82nd loss would come not as the result of a 27th out, but rather by the hands of the umpiring crew deeming the field to be unplayable. But not even that indignity could be spared. Let the record show that the final out was a routine fly ball off the bat of Lastings Milledge that found itself easily captured by Kosuke Fukudome. Is it irony that when the Pirates losing season streak started, only one player of Japanese decent had ever appeared in the Show, yet the player who recorded the last putout came from that island nation?

Ted Lilly and three Cub relievers combined on a 2 hitter as the Pirates were beaten for the 82nd time this season. Derrek Lee drove in three runs with a pair of homers. Both Pirate hits went for extra bases (solo homer from Andy LaRoche and an RBI double from Brandon Moss). Daniel McCutchen was serviceable – giving up nine hits and four runs in seven innings.

The Good

LaRoche homered.

The Bad

82 losses. Officially.

Getting two-hit.

The Rest

By the numbers – LaRoche and Moss have 15 homers and 83 RBI in 762 ABs. Jason Bay has 31/98 in 452 at bats.

Ted Lilly is now 4-1 against the Pirates all-time.

In just seven games in 2009, Lee has 12 RBI against the Pirates.

Gorzelanny Haunts Pirate Hitters

Tom Gorzelanny allowed just one run in five solid innings as Chicago took advantage of the Pirates poor offense to beat tough luck starter Zach Duke.Gorzy whiffed 8 and allowed just three singles in five innings.

Duke was good, as usual. He allowed three runs in 7-1/3 on nine hits. He struck out three and walked just one. Jeff Baker did most of the damage with a first inning RBI single and a solo tater leading off the 7th.

The Good

Steve Pearce had two of the Pirates five hits. He also stole a base.

Duke.

The Bad

The offense.

The losing.

The Rest

This club will have to go 17-29 the rest of the way to avoid 100 losses. If I was to place a bet, my money would be on triple digit ‘L’s.

Gorzy had reached 8 whiffs in just two other games in his career. Most recently was 6-29-08 against Tampa. Quite obviously, he had never faced the Pirates before.

Pearce’s stolen base was his first since 9/23/09.

Duke is 1-6 in his last nine starts. The Pirates have scored more than three runs in just one of those.