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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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.

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.

Karstens Sharp as Bucs Win

Jeff Karstens looked good over seven innings, allowing just two runs and seven hits. He surrendered three singles, three doubles and a walk in needing just 87 pitches to get that deep.

The Pirates jumped on Wandy Rodriguez immediately, utilizing a walk and four singles to plate three runs in the first.

Eric Hinske had three hits, Jack Wilson had a pair of doubles, Robinzon Diaz drove in two and Freddy Sanchez collected two more hits to pace the Pirates attack.

Trailing 7-2 heading into the 9th, Houston loaded the bases with two outs off Tom Gorzelanny. Matt Capps was called in – his first appearance since being hit in the elbow by a liner. He forced home two runs with a BB and an HBP before getting Carlos Lee to end it.

The Good

Karstens

Sanchez is hitting .333 now

The Bad

Would like to see Gorzy and Capps get squared away.

The Rest

Brandon Backe made his first appearance of 2009. He was sidelined with a strained “intercoastal” muscle. It has been a tough couple of months for Backe as he was also arrested at a wedding reception in the off season.

Sanchez has 14 hits in his last 22 at bats.

Adam LaRoche, Nate McLouth and Brandon Moss were kept out of the starting line up. John Russell penciled in Andy LaRoche into the second spot – the highest in the batting order he has hit all season – and he responded with a single and a double.

Rodriguez gave up five earned runs for the first time this year. He gave up six runs to Cincinnati in his last start, but they were all unearned. August 5, 2008 was the last time Rodriguez gave up five or more earnies.

9th Inning Rally Puts Bucs on Top

The Pirates compiled 12 hits and just one run through the first seven innings off of Mark Buehrle. The game changed after he left. Octavio Dotel surrendered a solo homer to Eric Hinske in the 8th. The following inning, Bobby Jenks retired the first two hitters and then gave up a game tying homer to Jack Wilson. Nyjer Morgan followed with a double. Delwyn Young knocked him in with a single.

Matt Capps struck out the side in the 9th to secure the win for John Grabow, who had relieved Jeff Karstens. The Pirates starter went 5-1/3 and gave up three runs. Two of those scored on a homer from Brian Anderson in the 2nd.

The Pirates broke their scoreless streak with a run in the first when Hinke’s double scored Freddy Sanchez. After that it was zilches as Buehrle got out of trouble with the help of two DPs and two base runner kills. He gave up just the one run in seven innings.

The Good

Comeback win.

Great to see Capps cut through some hitters.

The Bad

Inefficiency from the offense. 12 hits and one run through seven innings will not normally make it happen.

The Rest

The Pirates last win when starting the 9th behind was on Opening Day 2009 against St. Louis.

The Pirates 16 hits is their second highest total this year.

Buehrle came into the game 3-0 in three career starts against Pittsburgh.

Hinske’s last homer was 9/28/08 for Tampa. Wilson’s last dinger was 8/15/08.

 

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.