Bucs Lose Rollercoaster

From up five early to a 9th inning comeback against Francisco Rodriguez to losing it in the 10th, this one had it all. All except a Pirates win, that is. This one was delayed by rain and it was a make up for an earlier rain out. Striking an irony chord somewhere.

The Pirates jumped on Tim Redding early for five runs. Garrett Jones and Robinzon Diaz each had three hits and two RBI. However, Paul Maholm couldn’t hold the lead as the Mets scored eight runs in the middle three frames.

The Pirates tied it up in the 9th off of Rodriguez when Adam LaRoche stroked a two run dinger. But, the Mets countered with a run in the 10th off Matt Capps as Ryan Church singled in Fernando Tatis, who had homered earlier in the game. Rodriguez tossed a perfect 10th to lock it down.

Maholm went 4-1/3 and gave up six runs and 11 hits. Redding gave up five runs and got just seven outs.

The Good

Garrett Jones was single short of the cycle.

The Bad

Delwyn Young was held hitless again and was tossed for arguing balls and strikes.

The Rest

Former Bucco Elmer Dessens made his 4th appearance of the year in relief for NYM.

This was the first time all year that Maholm gave up more than four runs in a home start. He has never been touched for more than six runs in a start at PNC.

The last Pirate to have a double, triple and homer in the same game before his 50th career game was Richie Hebner way back on 5-4-69. Garrett Jones did it today.

Tatis scored four times, establishing a single game high for his career.

Welcome Jeff Salazar. Bucs most recent recall from Louisville was 0-1 in a pinch hitting role in his Bucco debut.

 

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Bucs Win Comedy of Errors

Zach Duke allowed just one run in six innings to get his 8th win. He was supported by Adam LaRoche who homered and drove in three runs. But the defense committed three errors. That helped Cleveland score five runs in the 9th (just two earned) off of Steven Jackson to make the final 10-6.

The Pirates had been the beneficiaries of a Cleveland miscue earlier in the game. With two out and nothing happening, rookie SS Luis Valbuena committed a throwing error allowing Freddy Sanchez to reach base and allowing the floodgates to open. The Pirates piled on six runs, with a Jason Jaramillo homer capping the scoring.

Carl Pavano took the loss. He gave up 11 hits in 3-2/3 innings. He was charged with eight runs, with just three being earned. Duke struck out four, walked two and allowed a double and four singles.

The Good

Mark it down – Zach Duke will be an All-Star this year.

Andew McCutchen has a 12 game hitting streak.

With three RBI, Adam LaRoche passed the departed Nate McLouth for the team lead in RBI with 36.

The Bad

The defense. Andy LaRoche had a couple of errors, giving him 8 on the season.

The Rest

Zach Duke set a career high with wins in a half a season with 8. He won seven in the second half of his rookie year way back in 2005.

LaRoche is hitting .357 in June.

 

Late Rally Falls Short as Tribe Prevails

The Pirates collected two hits in the first inning and four hits in the 9th. In between they had just two hits. For the first eight innings, they had no runs. But scored four in the 9th. Unfortunately, the Indians scored four early runs off Ian Snell (who lasted just 2-2/3) and tacked on one more in the middle innings off of Evan Meek to hold out.

Cleveland starter David Huff allowed three singles, two walks and a double in eight innings. He was lifted for Matt Herges (blast from the past). Herges got into trouble almost immediately, giving up a lead off homer to Adam LaRoche. Herges was replaced by Kerry Wood who allowed two more run scoring knocks before getting LaRoche the Elder to whiff with the bases loaded and two out to end the game.

Huff picks up his third straight win. Snell is the loser and Wood is nicked but gets the save.

The Good

Better late than never for the offense. But, sheesh.

The bullpen went 6-1/3 and allowed just one run and three hits.

Matt Capps struck out the side in the 9th.

The Bad

Too many opposing starters pitching too deep into games.

Bucs have a five game losing streak.

The Rest

This is the second time this year (15 starts) that Snell has failed to get more than nine outs. From 2006-2008 (95 starts) he had only two such outings.

Adam LaRoche is hitting .338 with three dingers in June. Typical LaRoche summertime heat wave.

After 70 games last year, Pittsburgh was 34-36. This year the record stands at 31-39.

Karstens is the Hero in Relief

Jeff Karstens was yanked from the rotation favor of newly acquired Charlie Morton. Hamstring issues forced Morton from the game after just one inning. In stepped Karstens and he allowed just one run in 4-2/3 to earn the win.

Pirate offense was once again scarce. Adam LaRoche drove in a run with a grounder in the third and another with an infield single in the seventh.

Atlanta’s tallies came on same-inning doubles from Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann in the sixth and a solo homer in the 9th by Garret Anderson off of Matt Capps.

Jair Jurrjens allowed two runs in six innings but took the loss. He allowed four singles and whiffed seven. Capps got the save.

The Good

Nice to see Karstens come through.

Freddy Sanchez had two hits, including another double.

The Bad

Not too much offense. Yet again. But at least it was enough

The Rest

The last Pirate starter to last an inning or less was Tom Gorzelanny  on 5-28-09. Of course, his outing was shortened due to ineffectiveness and not an injury.

The last Pirate reliever to toss 4-2/3 or more was Shawn Chacon who went five on 5-17-07 in relief of Tony Armas, Jr.

Despite allowing just 8 earned runs in 23 innings pitched, Jurrjens career mark against Pittsburgh fell to 1-3.

Bucs Bullpen Returns the Favor

Coming into the game, the Washington bullpen was much maligned – a league worst ERA with 14 loses and a league low six saves. Tonight it was the Pirates turn to lose a game late.

Coming into the fifth inning, the Pirates had been held hitless and were trailing 3-0. Not only were they held hitless through four, but they were being held down by a dude making his MLB Debut – Craig Stammen, who went to the University of Dayton. My own backyard.

The LaRoche brothers fueled a comeback. The Bucs first hit of the game was a double by Adam in the fifth. He would score on a groundout by Andy. Stammen began to struggle in the 7th. A walk to Nate McLouth, a homer by Adam LaRoche, a double by Brandon Moss and a single from Andy LaRoche put the Pirates up 4-3 and sent Stammen to the showers.

Tom Gorzelanny relieved Ian Snell to start the 7th. He had a 1-2-3 first inning. But the 8th is where it went sour. He allowed four straight singles that plated two runs, pushing Washington ahead to stay.

Former Pirate Julian Tavarez was the winner in relief of Stammen. Gorzy was hung with the L.

The Good

Snell was solid. Six innings and three runs allowed on just four hits.

The Bucs offense was efficient. Not many guys on, but not many guys stranded. That’s an official reach.

The Bad

Losing one late and having the winning streak snapped.

The Rest

Coming into tonight, Tavarez’ career ERA against Pittsburgh was Maddux-esque 2.12.

Brandon Moss has multiple hits in each of his last seven starts. His average is nearly 100 points higher than it was 10 games ago.

At AAA Syracuse this year, Stammen was 4-2 with a 1.80 ERA.

Adam Dunn’s BA is .280 following a single and an RBI tonight. You have to go back to 2004 to find him with a higher batting average this late in the season. And he is hitting less than .200 at home this year.

Bucs Come Through in Extras After Bullpen Blows it

Hey, it is four straight wins. So, not much to complain about. But, here goes…

With Matt Capps unavailable due to much recent use (as reported by Dejan Kovacevic in his pre-game notes), Sean Burnett was called on to protect a one run lead in the 9th. It didn’t happen. Burnett stranded a runner at third in the 8th and then allowed a one run triple to Nick Johnson in the 9th. Johnson would score on a wild pitch two batters later. Tie game. On we go.

The Bucs offense made quick work of Joe Beimel in extras. Adam LaRoche delivered a two run double with two gone to put the Pirates up. Tom Gorzelanny, who had releived Burnett to get the last out in the 9th, worked a scoreless 10th to get the win.

The Good

Gorzo’s first win since…6/24/08

Brandon Moss had his second three RBI game of his career. He drove in the final run with a single and had a two run double that capped a three run first.

Andy LaRoche belted a two run homer in the third that pushed the Pirates lead to 5-0.

The Bad

Starter Jeff Karstens gave up three consecutive run scoring hits with two gone in the sixth to allow the Nats to get within 5-4. He was then pulled in favor of Evan Meek in the 7th. Meek walked three but got out of the inning with help from a DP.

This was Burnett’s first career blown save and would’ve been his first career save.

The Rest

This was the second time the brothers LaRoche had multiple RBIs in the same game. The first time was 9-17-08.

National’s starter Shairon Martis is the first pitcher in the Show to hail from Curacao. The Pirates have strong ties to that island as former Bucs Yurendell DeCaster and Randall Simon and former Bucco minor league hitting instructor Hensley Muelens hail from there.

Along with Beimel, former Pirate pitcher Ron Villone also appeared for Washington. He is unscored upon in 2009. Washington represents his 12th ML team. Back in 2002 he was Pittsburgh’s Opening Day starter.

This is the second straight game that two former Pirate hurlers appeared agains their old team. Both Beimel and Kip Wells chucked it yesterday for Washington. The Reds (with Bronson Arroyo, Mike Lincoln and Arthur Rhodes – who never actually appeared in uni with the Bucs) could also pull the same trick in 2009.

Ohlendorf, Adam LaRoche Take Series from San Diego

Ross Ohlendorf settled in after allowing a two run bomb to Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning. He pitched into the 8th and gave way after giving up a pinch hit homer leading off the 8th to Edgar Gonzalez.

The Pirates offense worked early off Jake Peavy to erase the 2-0 deficit. Robinson Diaz drove in a pair of runs in the fourth with a two out single. Adam LaRoche hit a three run dinger in the next frame to break the tie.

Freshly recalled Brian Bixler stroked a two run double in the 8th and LaRoche homered again (solo) in the 8th for the final tally.

Ohlendorf gave up just five hits in his 7+ innings. He walked three and whiffed two.

The Good

Ohlendorf’s effort will be accepted all year long. Count me surprised at the early impact of the pitching staff.

Adam LaRoche is not just having a decent April. He’s actually having a good April. I was hoping for something other than a total bust. This is June/July type of production from him.

Don’t look now buy Andy LaRoche’s average is up to .264 after a 2-5 day.

Bucs travel to Milwaukee for three more games to close out April. With today’s win, the Pirates have guaranteed a winning April.

The Bad

Nyjer Morgan was CS for the second time this year.

The Rest

The middle of the Pirates infield included four guys who were not Opening Day starters at those positions- Robinson Diaz (C), Brian Bixler (SS), Ramon Vazquez (2B) and Morgan in CF.

This was the earliest two homer game in the season in LaRoche’s career. He had two dingers for Atlanta on 5/28/06. But he had never cranked two in April.

According to baseball-reference.com, Ohlendorf has been giving up more fly balls than ground balls. Today he retired 15 hitters on grounders and just three on fly balls. That’s good news.

John Grabow finished with two innings of work. It was his longest outing since 7/27/08, also against San Diego.