Schumakers PH Dinger Keys Card Comeback, Sweep

Matt Capps entered early – with one out in the 8th – and promptly lost the game. He allowed a pinch hit homer to the first batter he faced – Skip Schumaker – as St. Louis scored five runs in the 8th to win 7-3 and sweep the series.

Zach Duke had pitched effectively for the first 7-1/3 inning. After hitting for himself in the bottom of the 7th, Duke was pulled one out and one on in the 8th. After Capps gave up the go ahead dinger, he plunked Albert Pujols and was ejected from the game. Pujols was visibly angry and in some pain as the result of taking one off his torso. Jesse Chavez relieved and threw some gas on the fire as St. Louis scored three more times.

The Pirates collected seven hits in the 2nd and 3rd innings combined to take a 3-0 lead off of Joel Pineiro. The big blow was a two run homer from Steve Pearce in the second. But Pineiro settled in and pitched seven innings. The Pirates would get just two more hits off him after the third – both by Ramon Vazquez.

The Pirates put two on with no one out in the 8th off the St. Louis bullpen, but could not draw closer.

Duke went 7-1/3 and gave up two earned runs to get the no decision. Capps was the loser. Pineiro won and Kyle McClellan retired the final five hitters for a long save.

The Good

Duke was good again. One of these games, he’ll get some run support.

Vazquez, Lastings Milledge and Delwyn Young each had two hits.

In the 4th Jason Jaramillo’s snap throw to first picked off Bengie Molina to end the inning.

The Bad

The bullpen.

The Pirates drew no walks.

The defense faltered. Each of St. Louis first two runs came on errant pick off attempts. Duke tossed one into left in the fourth inning. That allowed Julio Lugo to move to third and he scored on a sac fly. In the 7th, Duke picked off Matt Holliday, who broke for second. But Pearce’s throw went into left field. Holliday went to third as a very weak throw from Milledge – and I was surprised at how bad a throw it was – was late. He also scored on a sacrifice fly.

Bucs hit into three double plays.

The Rest

Tony LaRussa will pick a spot to retaliate against the Pirates for Pujols getting plunked. The Cards are back in town in early September. The question is who does he hit? Andrew McCutchen is liable to steal. Garrett Jones isn’t a big enough name. That would leave either Ryan Doumit or Lastings Milledge.

Pineiro came into the game with a 5.66 ERA against Pittsburgh. He picked up his 10th win of the season. This is the first time he hit double digits in wins since 2003.

Bizarre jersey of the weekend winner was a teenage guy wearing a ketchup Jeff Andrews jersey. Didn’t see that one coming at all. I figured that he must’ve won it as part of some promotional give away. I can’t imagine someone buying it. On the St. Louis side, someone had a Fernando Tatis jersey. I also saw someone wearing a Pat Neshek jersey t-shirt. But that doesn’t count because the Tigers weren’t in town. Plus he hasn’t pitched in over a year.

On the discount rack in the clubhouse store were an array of Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson and Adam LaRoche jersey t-shirts. Also some Zach Duke ketchup jersey tees. If the very poorly run Pirates marketing department would make jersey tees for the 1970s era Pirates (and even some guys from the 1980s), there would be another benefit, as my brother noted: they’d never have to discount the shirts as the result of a trade.  

I’m often critical of the Pirates marketing department, but I have to praise them for the free spin on the prize wheel promo. It isn’t too often that teams give something away for free. It’d be a good deal if it cost $1. But out of the four spins between my brother and I over the weekend, we collected two bobble heads and a hat (plus a coupon for discount tickets, which I pitched).

A new casino opened in Pittsburgh at noon. Attendance was 24,000 – not too shabby.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

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.

 

 

Morton Sharp as Offense Picks Up

Charlie Morton tossed six shutout innings to earn his first win as a Pirate, allowing one single and four walks.

The Pirates offense gave him seven runs of support, which was nearly eventually needed as Florida scored four times late off the Pittsburgh bullpen. Brandon Moss and Ramon Vazquez both homered and knocked in two runs. Jack Wilson’s two run double keyed a three run seventh inning at the expense of Chris Leroux. The Pirates got to Chris Volstad early as he gave up four runs in three innings on three hits. He didn’t come back to the mound after a 45 minute rain delayed play.

Florida touched Joel Hanrahan and Jeff Karstens for two runs a piece, but it wasn’t enough. Karstens gave up a two run tater to John Baker before closing out the game in the 9th.

The Good

Happy to see some offense.

Vazquez is filling in for a day-to-day Sanchez who has back issues.

The Bad

Joel Hanrahan continues to struggle. His ERA creeped toward eight.

The Rest

First time since June 14-15 that the offense totaled 15 runs or more in consecutive games.

Four players have picked up their first win as a Pirate this season – Morton, Ross Ohlendorf, Steven Jackson and Virgil Vazquez.

Andrew McCutchen has doubled in three straight contests.

Houston Rallies Late to Beat Bucs

Steven Jackson gave up three runs in 1.1 innings of work over the 7th and 8th innings as the Pirates dropped two of three to Houston. Miguel Tejada delivered a two out RBI infield single in the 7th to break a 3-3 tie. On that play former Pirate Matt Kata scored from second, not stopping on the play since there were two gone. In the 8th, Jackson put two on with one away and was relieved by Jesse Chavez. He allowed run scoring hits to Humberto Quintero and former Pirate Jason Michaels to put Houston up 6-3.

The Pirates scored once and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Freddy Sanchez in the 9th, but couldn’t come through LaTroy Hawkins.

Ian Snell gave up three runs in six innings. He walked one and whiffed three. Astros starter Felipe Paulino left in the second with a groin issue. He gave way to Russ Ortiz, who tossed 4-1/3 innings of shutout ball. Ortiz was in line for the win but the Pirates scored twice in the visitor’s half of the 7th off of Tim Brydak, setting up Jackson’s ineffective effort.

The Good

Andrew McCutchen logged his first three hit game.

The Pirates defense recorded three double plays, including a strike ’em out/throw ’em out.

Snell was decent. That’s a positive sign.

The Bad

Tough when the bullpen falters.

Ramon Vazquez bobbled Tejada’s grounder in the 7th, allowing

The Rest

This was the 11th career game in which Humberto Quintero had two or more RBI. Three of those are against Pittsburgh. This was his second career three hit game.

Michael Bourn has two hits in five of his last six games.

Jeff Fulchino picked up his first ML win.

Sanchez is in the midst of a 2-18 (and 4-27) streak.

 

 

 

McCutchen Shines as Bucs Sweep Mets

Nate McLouth is gone. Long live Nate McLouth.

Andrew McCutchen is up and off to a great start. He had two hits, an RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base as the Pirates offense used a bunch of singles to give Mike Pelfrey an early shower.

McCutchen singled leading off the first, touching off a four run inning. The Pirates scored four more times in the fourth, forcing the Mets to their bullpen. Unfortunately, Bucs starter Ross Ohlendorf wasn’t on. Despite the huge lead, he didn’t last long enough for the win as he was yanked with one out in the fifth.

Pelfrey gave up 8 earned in 3-2/3. Ohlendorf was charged with five runs in 4-1/3. Steven Jackson received the win for two scoreless innings of relief work.

The Good

McCutchen’s start was very nice.

Jason Jaramillo knocked in a career best four runs.

Ramon Vazquez went 4-4.

The bullpen tossed 4-2/3 IP of one hit relief.

The Bad

Ohlendorf’s outing was the classic “hang in there and get the win”. But he couldn’t and didn’t.

Andy LaRoche, who knocked in two runs earlier in the game, left after being plunked on the knee cap. He is questionable for tonight, per the P-G.

The Rest

The list of recent Pirates to collect two or more hits in their debut, like McCutchen did, is varied:

Steve Pearce – 9-1-07

Andy Barkett – 5-28-01

Alex Hernandez – 9-1-00

Abraham Nunez – 8-27-97

Keith Osik – 4-5-96

Jason Kendall – 4-1-96

Sam Khalifa – 6-25-85

R.C. Stevens – 4-15-58

 

Jaramillo’s four RBI effort gives the Pirates two such contests from catchers in 2009 (Ryan Doumit had the other on 4-11-09). The Bucs had just three such games combined in teh 2006 to 2008 seasons.

This was the seventh four hit game of Vazquez’ career.

The Mets recently acquired former Pirate Emil Brown from San Diego. He appeared as a PH, his first appearance in Pittsburgh since June 28, 2001. Welcome back!

With McLouth gone, Andy LaRoche now leads the active roster in RBI.

Weeks Homer in the 9th Puts Brewers on Top

The Pirates bullpen faltered in the worst possible way. The bullpen blew a lead of two runs in the 8th only to watch the offense put one on the board in the bottom half. But that skinny margin heading into the 9th wasn’t enough as Matt Capps allowed a three run homer to Rickie Weeks that broke a 4-4 tie.

Paul Maholm had allowed just one run through seven. After giving up a one out walk in the 8th he was pulled. One out later, the Brewers rallied against John Grabow with a two run double from Ryan Braun tying the game.

The Pirates came up with a clutch hit of their own with Jason Jaramillo doubling in Ramon Vazquez in the home half of the 8th.

But that wasn’t enough for Capps. He loaded the bases with a single and a couple of walks before allowing the tying run to score on a sac fly from Notre Dame’s Craig Counsell. Weeks followed with his game winning tater.

The Good

Maholm was sharp again. He struck out seven and walked one while giving up five singles and a double.

Speaking of doubles, Freddy Sanchez added two more to his season’s total – 12.

Andy LaRoche hit his first homer of the year.

Nate McLouth had three hits.

The pitching staff reached a season high with 10 whiffs.

The Pirates scored off of Yovani Gallardo.

The Bad

The Pirates to longest standing bullpen stalwarts both failed.

The Rest

This was the first time that Capps allowed four earned runs in one appearance. The only time he allowed four runs was 9/6/06 when the Cubs notched four runs (but just three earned) off of him.

Capps’ last blown save at PNC was 6/10/08 when Lastings Milledge hit a two run, two out homer to win it for Washington.