Hanley Ramirez is a Stud

The Marlins took the second game of the series behind Hanley Ramirez. He homered and drove in two runs in support of Andrew Miller. The Marlins scored two runs on double play ground outs and another run on a wild pitch.

Miller tossed 6-2/3 IP of three run ball to get the win. The Marlins did their damage off of Zach Duke who gave three earned runs in six innings. He struck out five. Andy LaRoche and Garrett Jones homered to pace the Pittsburgh attack. Dan Meyer tossed the 9th for the save.

The Good

Wow. Not much. Homers, I guess.

The Bad

How many times can I bemoan the lack of offense.

The Rest

Former Bucco backstop Ronny Paulino was 0-4.

Miller had lost in his only other appearance against the Bucs, back in April of this season.

Duke has never beaten the Marlins. Florida is the only NL team he has yet to beat in his career.

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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.

Harden Holds Back Bucs

This offense is likely to drive one to drink. Maybe not this one, but someone out there. Rich Harden gave up nine hits and one walk in seven innings, but the Pirates collected just one run off him. Harden started off strong, limiting the Pirates to just two base runners over the first four innings. However, the Pirates scored once in the fifth (despite four hits), had two hits in the sixth and two more hits in the seventh. But that lone run in the fifth was all she wrote.

Zach Duke deserved better. He also went seven and gave up all three Chicago runs. He gave up seven hits and a walk. Big blows were delivered by Ryan Theriot (solo tater) and Milton Bradley (RBI double).

Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg finished for Harden.

The Good

Duke seems like a different pitcher in 2009. And that is definitely good.

Nyjer Morgan had three singles.

Andrew McCutchen had his first hit in four games.

The Bad

Wicked hot Andy LaRoche was 0-4 with three whiffs.

The Rest

This was Harden’s first career appearance against Pittsburgh.

After winning his first four career decisions against the Cubs, Duke has now lost six straight.

Greinke Prevents Sweep

Zach Greinke was once again tough, allowing just two runs – split apart by an hour long rain delay – in 6-1/3 innings of work. The Bucs were trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 7th. Adam LaRoche singled and after Andy LaRoche tripled him in, play was stopped. Jamey Wright took the thill following the delay. He allowed an RBI groundout to Jason Jaramillo as the Royals bullpen retired the final eight Pirate hitters to seal the deal.

David DeJesus homered and drove in two off of Charlie Morton who suffered his first setback on the year. He gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings.

The Good

The bullpen tossed four scoreless innings, giving up just one hit.

Jeff Karstens tossed another scoreless inning in relief.

The Bad

Andrew McCutchen was once again hitless, dropping his average below .300.

Offense still can’t get going.

The Rest

Greinke picked up his 10th win.

The Pirates won consecutive series for the first time since taking 2 of 3 from Colorado and then 3 of 4 from Washington (5-15 to 5-20).

Adam LaRoche is hitting .365 for June.

Through 75 games last year, the Buccos were 36-39 and 11 games out. This year they are one game worse at 35-40 yet remain in striking distance, entering today’s game at 5 out.

 

Maholm Sharp as Bucs Win 4th Straight

Paul Maholm allowed just four singles, a triple and two runs in seven innings to beat KC. He put the Pirates in a hole early as Billy Butler had RBI singles in the first and third innings. But Delwyn Young popped a three run homer in the fourth and added an insurance RBI in the 8th to pace the offense.

Bruce Chen was the loser. He made his way back from Tommy John surgery to make his first appearance since April 20, 2007.

John Grabow and Jeff Karstens finished up with an inning each of shutout relief.

The Good

Young continues to be a productive bat.

Maholm has scuffled a bit lately (4-6 with a 5.22 ERA in his last 10 starts). It’d be great to get him going.

The Bad

Andrew McCutchen failed to reach base for the first time since June 10 and had his first ever streak of consecutive hitless games.

The Rest

Chen’s last start was 8/4/06. Chen’s last appearance against Pittsburgh was 6/8/05 when he was beaten by the pitching of Kip Wells and four RBI from Rob Mackowiak.

Young established a career best in RBI.

Vasquez Sharp in Bucs Debut

Exit Ian Snell, enter Virgil Vasquez. The Pirates waiver wire acquisition who hadn’t tossed in the Show since 2007 picked up his first career win with six solid innings. He allowed four hits and two runs, while whiffing seven. He took the roster spot of the struggling Ian Snell who was sent to Indianapolis to get straightened out.

The Pirates trailed 2-0 early but came back on the shoulders of three unlikely power sources. Jack Wilson, Nyjer Morgan and Jason Jaramillo each homered to hand the loss to Gil Meche.

Matt Capps finished up by allowing a home run in the 9th and putting the tying run on base.

The Good

Welcome Virgil Vasquez! More, please!

Andrew McCutchen had his hitting streak stopped but reached base on an HBP and BB and scored both times.

The Bad

The offense continues to just get by with enough runs in putting together a three game winning streak.

The Rest

Vasquez joins Steven Jackson as Pirates who notched their first career win in 2009.

Vasquez’ seven K performance is second best on the team in June. He topped seven whiffs at AAA Indy this season just once.

Jack Wilson has raised his BA 20 points in the last 10 games by hitting safely in 9 of 10 contests and piling up four multi-hit games.

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.