Morton Fires Shutout at Wriglies

Turn about is fair play. At least that’s what they say. After being held to zero runs by Ryan Dempster on Tuesday night, Charlie Morton threw his first career shutout against the Cubs in the first game of a double header on Wednesday.

Morton allowed just four singles and three walks. He struck out a career best eight hitters. Ryan Theriot collected three of Chicago’s hits.

On the other side, Ted Lilly was troubled by a four run first. The Pirates collected three hits in the first and just three more thereafter. The outburst was triggered in part by Lastings Milledge aggressively breaking up a double play grounder that allowed Steve Pearce to be safe at first and scored a run. Jason Jaramillo followed with a two run, two out double for the second and third tallies. Brian Bixler’s single scored Jaramillo for the final run of the game.

Lilly struck out 8 in seven innings. He allowed five hits.

The Good

Morton’s effort.

Milledge going hard into second.

The Bad

Bucs whiffed 11 times overall.

The Rest

Morton’s previous career mark for whiffs was six, last accomplished 8/27/09 against Philadelphia. He had never pitched past the 7th inning before. He needed 119 pitches to complete the game. His previous high for pitches chucked in one game was 111, which he did in a six inning start for Atlanta last August.

This was Jaramillo’s first two RBI game since 8/31/09 against the Reds. Brian Bixler’s RBI was his first since April 26.

This was the 27th time the Pirates have struck out 10 or more times. Arizona leads the Show with 53 such games.

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Reds Sweep Pirates Behind Arroyo, Votto

It was one bad inning that did in Charlie Morton. That inning was the third and the Red scored four times and collected four of their seven hits for the game. Joey Votto’s two run double did the most damage.

Morton allowed just two other hits in his seven innings of toil. But the Pirates managed only a solo jack from Lastings Milledge off of Bronson Arroyo. The ex-Bucco also lasted seven, scattering five hits and whiffing four.

The Pirates put three runners on against Francisco Cordero in the 9th, but were unable to score.

The Good

Nothing. Maybe Morton wasn’t so bad other than that one inning.

Three double plays from the defense, including an OF assist from Brandon Moss.

The Bad

The continuing saga of the pathetic offense.

The Rest

Welcome G20 summit attendees and protesters!

Arroyo moves to 4-3 in his career against Pittsburgh. He picked up his second win of 2009 with no defeats against the Pirates. This was Arroyo’s 76th win since being let go by the Pirates.

Only four pitchers have logged 200 or more innings in each of the past five years – Arroyo, Mark Buehrle, Danny Haren and Javier Vazquez. As it stand right now, the Pirates have amassed just four such pitcher seasons over the same period. I don’t want to go out on a limb, but I think it was officiallly a mistake to let him walk.

After hitting 14 homers in 587 ABs in 2008, Milledge has just three in 179 ABs in 2009.

 

 

 

 

Morton Pitches Pittsburgh Past Padres

Charlie Morton allowed a first inning run and then no more over seven strong innings. He gave up six hits (four in the first two innings) and just one free pass, while striking out four.

The Pirates battled back early off of a wild Tim Stauffer. With the aid of four walks and a pair of triples, the Pirates scored three times in the first and never looked back. Brandon Moss’ two run triple was the big hit.

After that it was Morton. Stauffer was pulled after three, allowing the three runs on four hits and four walks. Jesse Chavez and Matt Capps each tossed a scoreless inning to end it.

The Good

Getting a win.

Morton’s outing

The Bad

Wow. Nothing.

The Rest

This was Morton’s first win since August 21 against Pittsburgh. In his next start, he was clobbered for 10 runs against the Cubs. This was his best start since he threw seven shutout innings against San Francisco in July.

Brandon Moss is statistically at least, having an awful year for a corner outfielder. Looking back at Pirate players that had 350 or more plate appearances and failed to drive in 40 runs, you have a collection of lead off hitters and middle infielders. Other than Andy Van Slyke’s disastrous final season in Pittsburgh, the list is populated with names like Jose Castillo, Abraham Nunez, Lou Collier, Mike Benjamin, Jacob Brumfield.

Bucs Swoon Continues as Astros Pull Away

The Astros broke open a close game with six runs in the seventh inning as Pittsburgh’s conclusion to the baseball season gets uglier.

Charlie Morton pitched well enough – three earned runs in six innings.  But the offense struggled against rookie Bud Norris. He allowed just one run on six hits and seven whiffs in six innings.

The Astros big inning came at the expense of Joel Hanrahan and Jesse Chavez. The largest damage was a two out three run tater from Carlos Lee, which came on the heels of an error from Ryan Doumit during a rundown.

The Bucs lone run was a solo dinger from Andy LaRoche.

The Good

The season is almost over.

The Bad

All the losing.

The Rest

Is it possble that Jesse Chavez is out of gas? All three runs he let up were unearned, but his second half ERA is 6.00 in 21 IP after a 3.19 ERA in 36-2/3 IP in the first half.

This was Norris’ first career appearance against Houston.

This was Morton’s best appearance in his career against the Astros. Previously he allowed 11 earned runs over 10 innings in two starts. Morton posted an ERA way too close to 7.00 over his previous eight starts.

Reds Rip Bucs, Morton

Not much to say about this and not much time to say it. Red catcher Craig Tatum came into this series hitting .106 on the year. He had two hits and four RBI. Charlie Morton gave up nine hits, four walks and six runs in five innings. The bullpen wasn’t much better allowing the Reds to pull away with five runs combined in the sixth and seventh innings.

Garrett Jones hit a two run homer to highlight the Pirates offense.

Rookie Justin Leher garnered the win, tossing six innings of four run baseball. Each of the Reds starting 8 had a hit and either scored a run in knocked on in.

The Good

Jones had two hits.

Lastings Milledge continues to swing a hot bat with two more hits.

The Bad

Wow – losing three straight in Cincy.

The Rest

Milledge is hitting .391 in his last 14 games.

Coming into the game Morton was 1-4 in his last seven starts with a 6.43 ERA.

Jones Beats Happ, Phils with 8th Inning Dinger

The Pirates took two of three from Philadelphia thanks to some late game heroics from Garret Jones. Trailing 2-1 in the 8th, the Pirates had been manhandled by Philadelphia rookie J.A. Happ. Pinch hitter Ronny Cedeno singled leading off, but Happ retired the next two hitters without incident. Jones followed with a two run homer to put the Pirates up 3-2. Matt Capps closed the victory.

Through the first seven innings, Happ had allowed just five hits. One of those was Andrew McCutchen’s solo homer in the first inning. Cutch’s drive tied the score at one each as Bucs starter Charlie Morton loaded the bases with none out in the first, but managed to escape with only one run allowed.

Morton yielded a solo homer to Paul Bako in the second and the score stayed that way until the 8th. Happ tossed a complete game in a losing effort and gave up all three Pirate runs. Morton went six and gave up both Phillie runs on five hits. He struck out six. Denny Bautista tossed two perfect innings and got the win in relief.

The Good

Taking two of three from the division leaders.

Happy with Morton’s outing.

Jones

The Bad

The team continues to struggle to draw walks, picking up just two.

The Rest

The Pirates have drawn the third fewest walks in the NL, leading only Houston and San Fran.

Jones has five homers in August after hitting 10 in July.

Happ beat the Pirates in his only other start against them on July 12.

Morton’s only other appearance against Philadelphia was a debacle. He lasted two innings in a loss while pitching for Atlanta 7/1/08.

Andy LaRoche hit cleanup for the 7th time in August. He is just 4-25 out of that spot with one XBH and two RBI.

The most impressive number of the day was the 85 that Ross Van Burkleo posted in the slop at the Oak Brook Park Marriott Resort golf course.

Jones’ Blast, Morton’s Effort Push Bucs to 4th Straight W

The Pirates offense was loudly efficient tonight. The team totaled just five hits. But three of them went for extra bases. Trailing 1-0 with two out in the third, Garrett Jones drilled a three run homer high into the seats in left. In the fourth, Lastings Milledge crushed a solo homer. In the next inning, Andrew McCutchen tripled into the notch and scored on a sac fly from Delwyn Young. And the Pirates were hitless the rest of the way.

Those five runs were all Charlie Morton needed. He allowed two runs in 6-1/3 inning to get the win. Matt Capps brought the tying run to the plate with a single and an error, but escaped without a blemish.

Micah Owings gave up all five Bucco hits and all five runs. He was pulled for a pinch hitter after five innings. Keeping up his strong offensive showings, he singled and scored the Reds first run.

The Good

Four straight wins

Morton’s effort

Jones keeps bashing

1/2 game out of fifth

The Bad

Ronny Cedeno’s error in the 9th caused a few moments of tension

The Rest

Bucs have their first four game winning streak since June 24-27 during interleague play against Cleveland and KC. Not exactly the Yanks and Red Sox.

This was Jones first ever three RBI game. He has the team lead in HR.

Morton won for the first time since July 18.

Owings came into the game with six hits in 12 ABs against the Pirates. His record against the Pirates fell to 1-3.

Bucs 3B have six homers and 43 RBI. Bucs SS have eight homers and 55 RBI. Bottom line: Andy LaRoche has yet to impress. In 2007 Jack Wilson and the Pirates SS outhit Jose Bautista and the Pirates 3B (one more homer and the same number of RBI). Bottom line, Andy LaRoche has been not done a good enough job with the lumber.

Pirates are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1979 World Series and each club wore throw back uniforms.