Revamped Bucs Beat Equally Downtrodden Nats

In a match up of two of the three worst teams in the NL, the Pirates and Ross Ohlendorf prevailed.Ohlendorf allowed just two runs on six hits in 6-1/3 innings of toil.

Lastings Milledge, making his Pirates debut, singled twice and drove in two runs. Steve Pearce connected for his first homer this season. Andrew McCutchen had two hits and scored twice.

John Lannan gave up all five runs in seven innings on nine hits. Matt Capps put two runners on in the 9th before closing out the game.

Three players were playing against the former clubs. Nyjer Morgan was 0-4 with a walk, a run scored, was picked off and made the last out with the tying run on base. Joel Hanrahan gave up two runs in 2-3 IP. Milledge was clearly the top performer.

The Good

Snapped a four game losing streak.

Ohlendorf has matched Zach Duke for the team lead in wins.

The Bad

The bullpen gave up two runs in 2-2/3 IP and Capps almost blew it in the 9th.

The Rest

After hitting .284 in June, McCutchen finished July hitting .277 for the month.

Results of players making their Pirates debut in 2009

Lastings Milledge – 2-3 with two RBI (July 31)

Jason Jaramillo – 1-3 (April 16)

Delwyn Young – 0-1 (April 17 as a PH)

Ramon Vazquez – 1-2 (April 6)

Eric Hinske – 1-1 (April 6)

Garrett Jones – 0-4 (July 1)

Craig Monroe – 0-1 (April 7)

Jeff Salazar – 0-1 (July 2)

That’s 8 new hitters through July. In 2008, there were 10 players who made their hitting debut for the Pirates. I’m certain that the 2009 club will catch up.

 

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Bucs Offense Again Anemic

Jason Marquis came within one out of tossing a complete game. He was more than good enough through 8-2/3 to win, allowing only a solo dinger to Jack Wilson in the 7th before tiring and allowing two runs in the 9th. He gave way to Alan Embree to finish it.

Ross Ohlendorf gave up all six of the Rockies runs. Brad Hawpe and Troy Tulowitzki each homered to support Marquis. Todd Helton had three hits an scored three times.

Eric HInske and Andrew McCutchen delivered two out RBI in the 9th to chase Marquis.

The Good

Cutch had two hits – a double and a triple.

The Bad

Is it possible that Jim Tracy is directly responsible for Colorado’s turn around?

Delwyn Young was held hitless. He had two walks.

The Rest

The last time the Pirates had back-to-back complete games thrown at them was against Colorado on 8/5/98 and 8/6/98. The winning pitchers were Jamey Wright and John Thomson. It almost happened again.

Marquis has nine career wins against Pittsburgh, tying them for most against any franchise along with Houston.

The Pirates DFAd Craig Monroe and recalled Steve Pearce.

Bucs Fall in 15

The pitcher scheduled to start Wednesday’s game – Jeff Karstens – was forced into duty as the Pirates and Braves went long. Karstens ended it quickly by just one of the five hitters he faced. The winning run scored on a bases loaded grounder from former Bucco David Ross.

Atlanta’s bullpen blew a three run lead in the seventh, but then remained unscored upon for nearly nine straight innings. Rookie Kris Medlan tossed the final two innings for the win.

The Braves did some damage early against Zach Duke. He gave up six runs in six innings. Duke was taken deep by Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Nate McLouth (hey, his name is familiar).

The Good

Andrew McCutchen had four hits including a double and a pair of triples

Evan Meek tossed three scoreless innings

The Bad

Jason Jaramillo struck out four times and had to pull his foot off the plate to get Jack Wilson’s throw on Ross’ grounder in the 15th, allowing the winning run to score.

Craig Monroe was thrown out at home in the 11th trying to score on a double from McCutchen.

The Rest

This was the Pirates first 15 inning contest since last April 9th against the Cubs.

Meek has pitched three innings twice in his career. The other time was May 3, 2009 in relief of Jeff Karstens against Cincinnati.

This was McCutchen’s fifth career game. The last Pirate rookie to collect four or more hits this early in his career was John Wehner who had five singles on 7/23/91 against Atlanta.

Bobby Cox picked up his 2,000 win as Braves manager.

 

Offense Keeps Rolling as Bucs Score in Double Digits Again

The Pirates piled up 12 runs on 12 hits, four walks, two HBP and four Nationals errors to take the first game in Washington.

Craig Monroe got the Pirates going with a three run jack in the third of Nats starter Ross Detwiler. But Pirates hurler Ross Ohlendorf hit some trouble in the fifth. Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman each hit homers in a five run inning.

The Pirates offense countered with five in the visitors half of the sixth to not only get Ohlendorf off the hook, but also to give him the win. The Bucs put together three doubles, a single and a walk to do the damage. Jack Wilson struck the go ahead blow – a two run double.

Ohlendorf gave up five runs in five innings, but earned the win. Garrett Mock was the loser in relief of Detwiler.

The Good

Have to like the sudden surge in offense. I know the Nats aren’t exactly the 1971 Orioles. But, I’ll take it.

Wilson was 4-4, missing the cycle by a homer. He had three runs scored and a pair of RBI.

Every starter had a hit, an RBI or a run scored, except for Ohlendorf

The Bad

Both John Grabow and Matt Capps gave up a run in one inning of work.

The Rest

Historic event: first time ever that two pitchers with the first name of Ross were starting for opposing teams. Ohlendorf and Detwiler. Those names will live on. The closest it has ever come to happening was 1980 when Ross Grimsley, then of Cleveland, made a couple of starts against the Chicago White Sox who featured future Pirate Ross Baumgarten in their rotation. Alas, Grimsley went against Richard Dotson (fellow Anderson High School alum) and Steve Trout. Baumgarten started on 8/30/80 and Grimsley started the second game of a double header on the following day. So close.

Wilson’s four hit game was his second of 2009. He collected just two between 2005 and 2008 combined.

Craig Monroe now has 14 RBI in 45 ABs. I checked on Baseball-Reference.com to find all players with 50 ABs or fewer over the course of a full season and only four players contributed more than 14 RBIs in a given season in which they got 50 or less at bats:

Ron Northey in 1956 (23 RBI in 46 ABs)

Taylor Teagarden in 2008 (17 RBI in 47 ABs)

Walt Bond in 1962 (17 RBI in 50 ABs)

Hank Greenberg in 1936 (16 RBIn in 46 ABs)

Rockies Rally in 9th off Capps

I feel for Paul Maholm. He tossed shutout baseball for seven innings and then watched the bullpen struggle. Maholm allowed just five hits and whiffed four.

The Pirates offense struggled against Jorge De La Rosa. He allowed seven hits and one run in seven innings to go along with 10 Ks. The Pirates lone run was an RBI single from Craig Monroe.

Tyler Yates almost blew the lead in the 8th. Two consecutive hits put runners on the corners. But, the umpiring crew ruled that Seth Smith left third base too soon on what would’ve been an SF from Troy Tulowitzki. Instead of a tie game, the Stones were left with a rally killing DP.

But in the 9th Matt Capps allowed a two run homer to Brad Hawpe and an RBI single from Matt Murton. Huston Street whiffed the side in the 9th.

The Good

Maholm was tough again.

Robinzon Diaz continues to hit – a single and a double.

The Bad

One run and 13 whiffs for the offense.

Capps. Ugh.

The Rest

Capps’ last blown save was unfortunately very recent – May 4.

de la Rosa’s last outing against Pittsburgh was also impressive – 6 IP and 1 ER on 7/19/08. This was his second straight double digit strikeout effort.

Ryan Spilborghs took a homer away from Jack Wilson in the third.

This was Huston Street’s first career appearance against Pittsburgh.

Duke Dominate as Bucs Beat Friars

Is it wrong to get excited when Zach Duke pitches like I did in 2005? He went 8-1/3 inning, allowing just one run, five singles, a triple and a pair of walks. He picked up his third win and dropped his ERA to 2.65.

The Pirates strung together a bunch of hits against starter Shawn Hill (who left with an arm injury) and reliever Josh Geer. The Pirate hitters tallied 14 knocks with Craig Monroe (three hits and three RBI) and Freddy Sanchez (three hits and three runs scored) pacing a balanced attack.

The Good

Duke. I keep waiting for the wheels to fall off.

Sanchez stroked his league leading ninth double.

Monroe has nine RBIs in 23 ABs. If you extrapolate that to a 500 AB season, that is almost 200 RBI. Not too shabby.

The Bad

Injuries. Both Jack Wilson (finger) and Nate McLouth (oblique) were out. Plus Ryan Doumit has had surgery. Craig Hansen was put on the DL with neck troubles, prompting the promotion of Evan Meek to the Show. Meek mopped up for Duke in the 9th.

The Rest

Both LaRoches grounded into double plays. Not something you see too often.

The Padres wore throwback 1969 uniforms. Very sweet.

Snell Efficient and Monroe Supplies the Boom

Craig Monroe got the start in right today and drove in six runs. He did that by clouting a pair of three run homers. The first came off of Braves starter Jo-Jo Reyes and blew open a 2-0 game. The second came two innings later off of Buddy Carlyle.

Monroe’s outburst came in support of Ian Snell who didn’t need much. He went seven innings and allowed three walks, three singles and a double while preventing any Atlanta runs from scoring.

Ryan Doumit had three doubles and scored three times. Andy LaRoche had three hits – including two doubles – as the Pirates piled up nine extra base hits.

The Good

Monroe’s effort was the first six RBI effort by a Pirate hitter since Jose Castillo on 5/30/06.

LaRoche’s three hit effort was the third of his career.

Snell gets in the win column. He won twice in April in 2008 and then just once more before the All-Star break.

Thanks to three double plays, the Pirates only faced four over the minimum in a very quick (2:22) game.

The Bad

Nothing too bad. Nyjer Morgan is now hitless in his last two games.

The Rest

The Bucs have shut out the Braves two straight games, matching what Atlanta did to the Pirates in Game 6 and Game 7 of the 1991 NLCS. I won’t count that as being a payback in full.

Chipper Jones was out with a thumb injury.

This was Jo-Jo Reyes’ debut against Pittsburgh and his first appearance of 2009.