Votto’s Bat, Duke’s Arm Push Reds Over Bucs

Joey Votto stroked a two run double and hit a solo homer late in the game as the Reds took advantage of Zach Duke’s control issues to hand Pittsburgh their 98th loss of the year.

Duke went five innings and allowed five runs on six hits and five walks. He walked five hitters and two of them came around to score. Votto contributed a two run double in a three run fourth that put the Reds up 5-1.

The Pirates didn’t roll over. Delwyn Young hit a three run homer to put the score at 5-4. But Chris Bootcheck and newly recalled Anthony Clagett were each touched for tallies as the Reds pulled away.

Johnny Cueto was the winner. He allowed all four Pirate runs in six innings. He walked four and struck out six. With the the score at 7-4 and two men on, Nick Masset induced an inning ending grounder from Lastings Milledge. Francisco Cordero tossed a scoreless 9th for the win.

The Good

Young had three hits to go along with his three RBI.

LaRoche, still hitting number 2, had a double.

Andrew McCutchen stole his 20th base.

The Bad

Bad way to end an otherwise solid year for Duke.

Jason Jaramillo had a rough one. He whiffed three times, had a passed ball that allowed a run to score and hit into a double play.

The Rest

Cueto is now 6-2 in his career against Pittsburgh.

Welcome Anthony Clagett.

Brandon Moss walked three times – the first such game of his career.

Votto’s three RBI put him at 84 for the season, matching his 2008 total. His homer puts him in a tie for 10th all-time for homers hit by Canadian born players.

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Bucs Stage Improbable Comeback in Victory

Daniel McCutchen almost got the win. The Pirates were 9 outs away, clinging to a one run lead. Luis Cruz mishandled an inning ending DP grounder in the 7th, allowing the tying run to score. No decision for McCutchen (6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs).

In the 9th, LA put their first three runners on base en route to scoring three times off of Matt Capps. At that point, whatever slight breeze that was keeping my sails half empty dissipated entirely. No hope.

But yet, there was. With Jonathan Broxton on in the 9th, the Pirates came all the way back. Andy LaRoche singled in one run. With the bases loaded, Lastings Milledge delivered what should have been a game tying single. But the ball scooted past Andre Ethier and Garrett Jones scored all the way from first with the game winning run. Woo hoo!

That made a winner of Capps and hung Broxton with the loss. Clayton Kershaw made the start for LA and was pulled after four innings as he is coming off a hiatus from pitching due to a separated shoulder.

The Good

Taking at least two of four from LA. Going for the series win tomorrow!

McCutchen pitched well.

Andrew McCutchen had three hits. LaRoche and Milledge each drove in two.

The Bad

The 7th and the 9th defensive half innings.

The Rest

LaRoche had just his fourth multi-RBI game of the second half of the year.

This was Andrew McCutchen sixth game with three or more hits.

This was the fifth time in 2009 that Capps has allowed three or more runs in a single outing. He had just four such incidents in 2007 and 2008 combined.

Pirates need to go 5-3 to avoid a 100 loss season.

Reds Pour it on and Clobber Buccos

Don’t even know how to start with this one. Offense – weak. Starting pitching – not sharp. Relief pitching – yuck. Defense – one error leading to an unearned run. Add it all up and you have a blow out.

Kevin Hart managed to scatter 13 outs among the 8 runs he gave up. Homer Bailey allowed just four hits and two runs in six innings. All told the Pirates managed just five hits. Joey Votto alone had four hits. Five different Reds knocked in two runs. Virgil Vasquez gave up three runs in the 9th.

The Good

Andrew McCutchen had two doubles and an outfield assist

The Bad

All the aforementioned stuff.

The Rest

Homer Bailey has six wins in 2009. Three of them are against the Pirates in the last month.

This was Votto’s fifth career four hit game. His seven hits over the last two games set a career mark for him.

Cutch’s doubles put him in the top five among MLB rookies in too many categories for me to count – runs, hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, hits, etc. It’s a close race in both leagues for Rookie of the Year. No one is having a monster year.

Hart has dropped six straight starts.

Brandon Phillips now has 17 RBIs against the Pirates in 2009.

Bucs need to go 7-5 to avoid 100 losses.

 

Padres Earn Series Win in Extras

It was a nice comeback and it was good to see some fight in the fellas. The Pirates scored three in the 8th and one in the 9th to send the game to extra innings. But Jeff Karstens was torched for five runs in the extra frame as San Diego took 3 of 4.

Daniel McCutchen (6 IP, 8 hits, three runs, zero whiffs) was on the hook for the loss. Until Luke Gregerson gave up three runs in the 8th and Heath Bell uncharacteristically blew a 9th inning save. That took away a win from rookie Wade LeBlanc (5 IP, 5 hits, one run, five strike outs).

It was a 3-2 game coming into the 8th. But Chase Headley (solo) and Nick Hundley (two run) hit homers off of Jesse Chavez to push the lead to four runs. But Andrew McCutchen’s two run double off of Gregerson keyed the 8th inning rally. The Pirates loaded the bases with no one out in the 9th off of Bell, but managed just the tying run.

Headley’s RBI double in the 11th opened the scoring in that frame and was his fifth hit of the game. That outburst made a winner of Sean Gallagher.

The Good

The comeback.

Garrett Jones hit his 20th homer.

The Bad

Karstens got hit hard.

Another loss.

Only getting one run off of Heath Bell in the 9th.

The Rest

That was the 9th time this year that Headley has had three or more hits. It was his first three double game in his career. Combined Andy LaRoche and Brandon Moss only have six games with three or more hits.

Phil Dumatrait tossed a scoreless inning of relief. He has been scored on in six of his 11 appearances.

Adrian Gonzalez drove in two runs to reach 92 RBI. He is trying to become the first Padre ever to knock in 100 runs in three straight seasons. Only one other Padre – Phil Nevin – recorded three different 100 RBI seasons.

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.

Cutch Bails Out Capps in Walk Off Win

The evening was full of drama. I’m in Chicago and took in my first game ever at Wrigley. I was on hand to watch Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs get pounded by Washington (shout out to Dave and Ross who are rooming with each other temporarily). Elijah Dukes hit a grand slam to blow the game open.Got to see Tom Gorzelanny come in from the bullpen and pitch. Plus, Aramis Ramirez. Big night for ex-Buccos.

Also did quite a bit of scoreboard watching as the game I witnessed live was quickly getting out of hand.

Jimmy Rollins provided early fireworks with a pair of solo homers off of Ross Ohlendorf. The Pirates countered with their own long ball as homers from Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce put the home town nine up 3-2. Ohlendorf went 6-1/3 and allowed just the two runs on five hits. The Pirates trotted out three relievers to be able to hand the ball to Matt Capps in the 9th. After a pair of doubles tied the scored, Shane Victorino tripled over the head of Andrew McCutchen who misplayed the ball, allowing the go ahead run to score.

Cutch got it back in the 9th. Brad Lidge was on and didn’t retire a batter. A single, a wild pitch and a single from Brandon Moss tied the score. McCutchen then delivered a walk off dinger. Ball game. Bucs win.

That was Lidge’s 9th blown save of the year. Capps has blown four times, but picked up the win in this case. Phils starter Joe Blanton allowed three runs in six innings and struck out seven.

The Good

Coming back and winning.

Cutch in the clutch

The Bad

Blowing a win for Ohlendorf.

Garrett Jones was 0-3 with a walk and three whiffs.

The Rest

Doumit had his first two walk game since 9/3/08.

Blanton had allowed just one earned run in 14-1/3 IP in two previous outings against the Pirates.

Capps blew five saves in 2008. His ERA last year was a full 3.50 runs lower than where it stands now.

This was McCutchen’s first walk off homer and the first time he homered after the sixth inning.

The Rest

Ohlendorf Gets To Double Digits as Bucs Snap L Streak

Ross Ohlendorf allowed three runs in six plus innings to pick up his 10th win of the season, becoming the first Pirate to hit double digits in wins. He yielded solo homers to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez among the four hits he allowed.

The Pirates were aided by the wildness of Rockies rookie starter Jhouyls Chacin. He lasted just 2-2/3 innings as he allowed just one hit, but gave up six walks. That lone hit was an RBI double from Ryan Doumit in the second that scored Andrew McCutchen. That run was negated with Tulowitzki’s dinger in the home half of the second. But Chacin’s wildness got the best of him and knocked him from the game in the third. Chacin walked McCutchen and Garrett Jones. On an attempted double steal, Chris Iannetta’s poor throw allowed Cutch to score and Jones to take third. After a two out walk to Steve Pearce, Chacin was yanked in favor of ex-Pirate Josh Fogg. Delwyn Young delivered a two run triple and Ronny Cedeno singled him in as the Pirates scored four times in the frame.

Fogg pitched 4-1/3 and gave up two runs. 

The Good

Have to be happy with Ohlendorf’s season.

McCutchen scored three times, doubled, walked three times and stole three bases.

Jones doubled twice and walked.

Nine walks as a club.

Each of the starting 8 had a knock.

The Bad

I got nothin’.

The Rest

Ohlendorf is the first Pirate pitcher to hit double digits since Tom Gorzelanny and Paul Maholm in 2007. Gorzy won his 10th game on 8/10/07. Maholm did it on 8/23/07.

The nine walks were the second most for the club this season (11 on 6/14 against Detroit). The pitching staff has yielded nine or more walks twice.

After 112 games, the team is 46-66. At the same juncture last year, the mark was 51-61.

Both Fogg and another former Bucco, Joe Beimel, pitched in relief.

This was the third time McCutchen has scored three runs or more in a game in 2009.

The last Pirate to steal three bases in one game was Matt Lawton on 7/26/05.