Bucs Struggles in Milwaukee Continue

It is hard to win when you don’t do anything particularly well. Kevin Hart started and took the loss after allowing five runs in six innings. Phil Dumatrait and Steven Jackson each allowed a run in their inning of relief.

The offense scored three runs, all of which came in the 5th inning. The Pirates briefly held a lead that the pitching staff and the defense couldn’t hold onto. Delwyn Young committed an error to start the bottom of the fifth and that lead off hitter – Felipe Lopez – eventually scored on a double play ground ball. A goofed double play helped Milwaukee score a pair in the third. With one out and runners on the corners, Steve Pearce fielded a ground ball and tossed to Brian Bixler covering second. Bixler fell coming across the bag and was unable to complete the twin killing. That allowed one run to score and three batters later, Hart walked Prince Fielder with the bases loaded to force in another run.

Andy LaRoche hit a two run homer for the highlight of the Pirates offense.

Yovani Gallardo started but was ineffective. He gave up three runs in five innings. He struck out seven. Claudio Vargas was the winner in relief.

The Good

Lastings Milledge had two hits.

The Bad

Offense. Defense. Pitching. Attitude? see below

Bixler struck out three times.

The Rest

Ryan Doumit did not play after being pulled from yesterday’s game for undisclosed reasons. Skipper John Russell declined to give details, but confirmed that Doumit is not injured. Attitude issues?

This was LaRoche’s third homer of the month – tops in 2009 for him.

Gallardo had split two decisions against Pittsburgh in 2009. This was his fourth start against the Pirates this year.

Hart beat the Beer Makers earlier in the month in Pittsburgh.

 

 

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Bucs Can’t Overcome Duke’s Off Night

There haven’t been too many games like this for Zach Duke in 2009. Thank goodness. Duke gave up seven runs in three innings and Milwaukee held on for the win.

The Beer Maker scored five times in the first. Prince Fielder crushed a three run homer to start things off. Rookie Jason Bourgeois hit a solo homer in the second and Ryan Braun added a solo jack in the fourth off of Chris Bootcheck. Braun’s homer would be Milwaukee’s final hit of the night.

The Pirates comeback came up short. It was mostly the work of super-rook Andrew McCutchen. He hit a two run double in the second and a two run homer in the sixth. In between. Steve Pearce drove in two with a double. But that was all the Pirates could do.

The Bucs brought the tying run to the plate in the 8th and the 9th, but couldn’t manage a clutch hit.

Duke was the loser, allowing 11 hits and seven runs in three innings. Brewers starter Manny Parra was slightly better. He held on to work five innings and get the win. He gave up 10 hits and six runs. Trevor Hoffman struck out the side in the 9th for the save.

The Good

McCutchen – as always.

Lastings Milledge had two hits.

The bullpen looked good. That’s a nice change.

The Bad

Tough to get on Duke as he has been pretty solid all year, but this outing was awful.

The Rest

Milledge has two hits in five of his last 10 games and has brought his average up 40 points.

This was the second time that Cutch has knocked in four runs or more. Last time was August 1 when he hit three homers off of Washington.

Parra had allowed just three earned runs over 11-2/3 IP in his two previous starts against the Pirates.

Duke falls to 3-5 career against Milwaukee.

Fielder has double digit career HRs against every NL Central team.

Maholm Pitches Bucs to a Sweep

Paul Maholm evened his record at 7-7 by tossing 7-2/3 innings of one run ball. He gave up seven singles, a double and two walks. Maholm whiffed five Brewers. The defense turned four double plays behind him to help squelch the Milwaukee offense.

The Pirates got their offense on the board quickly and then the bats went silent. Suddenly potent Ronny Cedeno hit a two run dinger off Manny Parra in the second. Delwyn Young added and RBI single the following inning. The Pirates would collect just two more hits after the third inning.

Parra was charged with all three runs in six innings on four hits. He struck out six. Matt Capps tossed a perfect 9th for the save.

The Good

Sweep

Cedeno is hot like Shawon Dunston back in 1997.

The Bad

Nothing

The Rest

With Maholm sitting on 7 wins, Zach Duke at 9 and Ross Ohlendorf already in double figures, the Pirates have a chance to have three pitchers with 10 or more wins for the first time since 2003 when Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Jeff Suppan all won 10 on the nose.

Young has eight hits in his last 16 at bats. He has 11 RBI in August, his best monthly total of 2009.

Maholm came into the game just 2-5 in thirteen career starts against the Beer Makers. He hit his second career double and just his third career extra base hit.

Parra entered the game having allowed just three earned runs in 11-2/3 in three career starts against Pittsburgh, both of which were in PNC.

 

Bucs Blast Brewers with Three Homers

The Pirates bats finally showed some signs of life, as they backed up a decent enough pitching performance to end an ugly losing skid.

Trailing 1-0 after the first frame, Andy LaRoche’s sixth homer of the year – a solo shot off of Carlos Villanueva – knotted the score after two innings. Villanueva ran into more trouble. The Pirates put 10 men to the dish and scored five times on seven hits. Garrett Jones delivered a tie-breaking two run homer among the knocks.

But Milwaukee crept back in against Kevin Hart. He allowed a solo dinger to Prince Fielder and a two run shot to Mike Cameron to make it 6-4. With the score 7-5, Ronny Cedeno hit a two run homer off of Jesus Colome to give the Pirates the final cushion.

The Good

Hart’s first win as a Pirate. Decent enough outing. Most nights it wouldn’t have been enough, though.

I knew I should’ve bought that Garrett Jones jersey t-shirt at the Dick’s by the Pittsburgh airport.

Delwyn Young had three singles.

The defense turned three double plays.

The Bad

Just one BB earned.

The Rest

Skipper Ken Macha has been hitting SS Alcides Escobar in the 9th spot since J.J. Hardy’s demotion. He did it again in this game.

Hart had his first career two hit game.

This was just the second time in two months that the Pirates tallied 15 hits or more in a game.This was just the second time this month the Pirates scored more than seven runs in a game. This was just the third time since the All-Star break the Pirates put three homers over the fence in one game.

Matt Capps pitched a perfect 9th. It was the first time since July 7th that he didn’t allow a runner on base during an outing. That seems almost unbelievable.

Jason Kendall had two singles. Former Pirate Jody Gerut was unsuccessful in a pinch hitting role.

Andy LaRoche has six homers in 386 ABs. Ronny Cedeno has 8 (including five with Seattle) in 245 ABs.

Remember when Prince Fielder’s vegetarian diet was the cause of his power outage? He hit his 31st homer and now has the league lead in RBIs.

Bucs Comeback and Take Series from Milwaukee

Paul Maholm didn’t have it today. Good news is that Jeff Suppan didn’t either. Neither started pitched five innings. Suppan went 3-1/3 and gave up five runs on four homers and three singles. Maholm went 4-2/3 and gave up seven runs, leaving the game with the Pirates behind.

It was an exciting fifth inning. Milwaukee trailed 5-2. But Ryan Braun hit a bases loaded double, scoring all three and then scored on a homer by Casey McGehee. After Bill Hall singled, Maholm was pulled for Joel Hanarahan who got the final out of the inning. The Pirates pulled even in their half off of Seth McClung. Delwyn Young walked and consecutive two out doubles from Andy LaRoche and Ramon Vazquez plated two runs.

It stayed that way until the 9th when Brandon Moss hit a walk off tater off Mitch Stetter with one gone. That made a winner out of Matt Capps, who pitched a scoreless ninth despite putting two runners on.

The Good

A win.

Winning a series.

Scoring 9 runs.

Garrett Jones hit a homer and had two doubles.

Ryan Doumit homered twice and drove in three.

The Bad

Maholm getting hammered.

The Rest

As Matt noted Andy LaRoche was traded. No surprise. Let’s see what Steve Pearce can do.

In the previous 31 games, the Pirates scored 9 runs or more just once (back on 6/24 vs. Cleveland). 13 hits was the most since that same game back on 6/24.

Last time the Bucs hit five round trippers in one game was 7/12/08. Damage was done then by Jason Michaels, Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche and Jason Bay (2). None of them is still a Bucco. Last time anyone on the current roster was involved in a five or more homer game was 8/22/07 when both Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson went deep against Colorado.

This was the fourth time in 2009 that Maholm allowed six or more earned runs. He did that just three times in all of 2008.

This was Jones’ third career three hit game and his second in July.

Doumit homered twice in a game for the first time since 6/10/08 when he connected twice off of Tim Redding of the Nationals. Doumit came into the game hitting just .216 in his career against Milwaukee. He hadn’t homered against the Brewers since doing it in consecutive games on 7/4/07 and 7/5/07.

Braun has more career RBI against Pittsburgh than against any other club.

 

 

Looper Closes Down Bucs

Early to bed and early to rise means I don’t have time to post the day of the game. My apologies. Not much was missed. Braden Looper stopped the Pirates on four hits and three walks in seven shutout innings. Trevor Hoffman got the save in the 9th.

Virgil Vasquez deserved better. He went 6-2/3 and allowed two runs on nine hits. Prince Fielder had a pair of RBI singles. Vasquez walked none and struck out four and probably earned himself another start or two.

The Good

No complaints about Vasquez tonight.

Evan Meek tossed two scoreless innings.

The Bad

Wow. The offense. Ugh.

The Rest

Looper is 4-2 against the Pirates as a starter. In seven career starts he has allowed more than three runs just once.

 

Bucs End Losing Streak Against Milwaukee

The Pirates climbed all over Mike Burns early on as Delwyn Young hit a three run first inning homer. After two innings, the Pirates led 6-1 and then cruised until the 9th when Jesse Chavez gave up three runs.

Ross Ohlendorf was good enough, giving up a pair of sac flies in five innings. He allowed seven hits and two walks. He gave way to Jeff Karstens who threw three scoreless innings. There were some fireworks as Karstens was plunked in his lone AB, clearing both benches. There was bad blood going back to 4/27 when Karstens nailed Ryan Braun one at bat after Braun had homered.

Braun was at it again as his two run homer capped the scoring off Chavez.

Burns was the loser, lasting three and giving up six runs (four earned).

The Good

Ohlendorf kept the team in the game.

Andrew McCutchen had three hits and scored twice.

Garrett Jones homered again.

The Bad

Bucs hit into three double plays.

The Rest

Felipe Lopez, recently acquired by Milwaukee, had four hits in his Brewer debut.This was his 8th career 4 hit contest.

Jones now has 8 homers in 60 ABs.

Pittsburgh had lost 17 straight to Milwaukee.