Bucs Can’t Overcome Duke’s Ugly First

Inventing new ways to lose nightly. That could be the motto for next year.

The Cubs opened the game with eight consecutive hits. The Pirates collected just nine hits all game and the Cubs had that many before anyone was out. Amazingly, Zach Duke actually survived that to pitch four innings and give up a total of 12 hits and eight earnies.

Virgil Vasquez got to mop up and the beneficiary of that support was Ryan Dempster. He gave up eight hits in 6-1/3 to get the win.

Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome each drove in two runs in the seven run first inning. Garrett Jones hit a solo homer for the Pirates – his 19th on the season.

The Good


Five innings of two hit ball from the bullpen

The Bad

Are you kidding?

The Rest

The eight straight hits to start the game ties a record. Last time it happened was 9/25/90 when the Bombers did it to the O’s. The victims were rookie Anthony Telford (no outs and six hits allowed) followed by rookie Mickey Weston (gave up the final two hits before pitching three innings overall). Not sure if there is any significance in this, but Kevin Maas hit his 20th homer in that game for the Yanks. Not that I’m comparing him to Garrett Jones.

The first out in tonight’s game was a sac bunt from Dempster. That was kind of Lou Piniella. A groundout from Oscar Azocar was the first out on 9/25/90.

Back on 9/25/90, the Pirates were in the early stages of a seven game winning streak that would keep them ahead of the Mets on their way to the division crown. Also back then, no one knew who Barack Obama was. No one realized that the Rangers (and future president George W.Bush) had made a mistake by trading Sammy Sosa to the White Sox. Pete Rose was still denying his involvement in gambling on baseball. Memories…



Bucs Rally to Avoid 82nd Loss

It looked bleak for the Smoky City Nine heading into the bottom of the 9th. Rick Ankiel homered off of Jesse Chavez in the top of the 9th to give St. Louis a 5-4 lead. The Cards trotted closer Ryan Franklin out to the mound to close the deal and not only give the Pirates a losing record but also mathematically eliminate them from the playoffs.

But the Pirates came up with four singles and two runs. The final tally came on a single from Garrett Jones. That made a winner of Chavez and a loser of Franklin.

The Cardinals scored in the first when Jason Jaramillo’s toss back to the mound sailed over the head of Paul Maholm and scored Julio Lugo from third. Hopefully he won’t get Mackey Sasser disease.

The Cardinals took a 4-1 lead before the Pirates scored three times in the sixth off of Joel Pineiro. Ronny Cedeno had a two run single and Jaramillo – who had three hits – struck the game tying blow.

That’s how it stayed until the 9th, staving off historical infamy for at least one more contest.

Maholm allowed four runs in six innings. He gave up six hits and whiffed seven. Pineiro also went six and gave up four tallies. He allowed eight safeties and struck out three.

The Good

13 hits.

A win.

Pirate pitchers combined for 10 whiffs.

The Bad

Jaramillo’s throw.

The Rest

Neil Walker gathered his first ML hit and first ML run.

Chavez recorded his first ML win.

Lastings Milledge has hits in 9 of his last 10 games. So has Jones.

The Pirates had not scored off of Franklin in his last 11 appearances covering 9-2/3 IP.




Pujols PH HR Delivers 81st Loss

Poor Ross Ohlendorf. Let’s hope he can pitch like this in 2010 and get more favorable results. With Tony LaRussa resting many of his regulars (Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday among others didn’t start), Ohlendorf struck out 11, walked one and allowed just one unearned run in eight innings. On the other side Mitchell Boggs was also tough againstt he punchless Pirates. The Bucs lone tally was an RBI double from Lastings Milledge that scored Garrett Jones.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the 9th but came up empty.

In the 10th, Albert Pujols clobbered a pitch from Matt Capps for a dinger – about a month after Capps hit him with a pitch and was tossed.Ryan Franklin put two runners on in the bottom of the 10th, but the Pirates failed to tie it up.

The Good

Ohlendorf pushed his ERA under 4.00.

Jones and Milledge combined for five of the Pirates six hits. Jones had three hits and walked twice.

The Bad

Gah – 81 losses.

The offense.

The Rest

Ohlendorf whiffed the side on 9 pitches in the seventh (Khalil Greene, Julio Lugo and Jason LaRue). He became the 40th pitcher ever and the second Pirate ever to do it. Jeff Robinson got Leon Durham, Andre Dawson and Rafael Palmeiro in the 8th inning back on 9/9/87 pitching in relief.

Jones reached base five times in one game for the first time in his career.

Ohlendorf’s 11 whiffs area high water mark for Pirate hurlers in 2009. He and Paul Maholm each tallied 8, in a start. No Pirate starter reached 11 whiffs since Ian Snell on 4/3/07 – his first start of the year. Last time someon got 12 strike outs was Kip Wells (winner for the Reds last night) on 7/5/05.

This was the longest career outing for Mitchell Boggs. His previous high in innings of work was six. This was also a career best in innings for Ohlendorf.

Give Pujols the MVP now.


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.

A Walk and 4 Double Plays Sink Pirates as Brewers Sweep

The Pirates collected a fair share of runners through hits and walks. Unfortunately, they had more double plays than runs.

Ross Ohlendorf probably deserved better, but he was involved in his own undoing. With the game knotted at one each (solo homers from Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones – ROY candidates both) in the fifth, Ohlendorf issued a bases loaded walk to his counterpart Jeff Suppan. One out later Craig Counsell hit a two run single for the final two runs of the game.

Suppan danced into and out of trouble all afternoon. Pittsburgh hit into double plays in the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th innings.

Ohlendorf allowed just five hits and struck out six in six innings. Suppan allowed 8 hits and three walks in six innings.

The Good


Lastings Milledge had three hits and Brandon Moss had two doubles.

Ohlendorf coulda/shoulda been the winner with this kind of outing.

The Bad

Not enough hits with men on base.

The Rest

Jason Kendall stole two bases.

Ryan Doumit was behind the plate following a 1.5 game benching. Could’ve been due to day game following a night game that he was playing instead of Jason Jaramillo. Doumit was 0-4 with a whiff and a GIDP.

A handful of NL rookies have double digits in dingers – Jones, McGehee, Andrew McCutchen, Jake Fox, Colby Rasmus and Kyle Blanks.

This was Milledge’s first three hit game as a Pirate.

This was the second time this year that Moss has had two doubles in one game.

Chris Bootcheck has cut his ERA in half over his last three outings. It now rests on 12.00.

Not going to mention Milwaukee’s ridiculous winning streak in WI against the Pirates. Not going to mention it.

Counsell came into the game hitting .292 against Pittsburgh, his second best mark against any opponent.

Suppan is now 14-3 in his career versus the Buccos, the most wins he has against any franchise.


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.


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.

’79 Champs Witness Bucs Rise to 5th Place

I was supposed to be in the audience tonight. But a business trip looms tomorrow. Thusly, I witnessed the game courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio. 22 members of the 1979 World Series champs were honored before the game and they got to watch Zach Duke, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones pitch and pound the Reds into submission. And into the cellar.

The Pirates took over 5th place with their fifth straight win. Duke allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks in seven innings. The Pirates got on Justin Lehr in the first inning with three runs. Doumit was in the middle of it. With the Pirates already up 1-0, one gone in the first and Jones on third, Doumit hit a high bouncer back to Lehr. The Reds hurler wanted to get two and end the inning, but Doumit hustled down the line and was credited with a fielder’s choice RBI. He then swiped second based and scored on a single from Lastings Milledge.

Doumit hit a two run homer high into the seats in right in the fifth to make it 6-1. Jones added a two run double in next frame and the route was on. The Pirates added four more in the 7th. Steve Pearce had a two run single. Had it not been for an acrobatic stop by Brandon Phillips off the bat of Delwyn Young that Phillips helped turn into a double play, it could’ve been worse.

Lehr allowed six runs on 8 hits in five innings.

The Good

Five straight wins.

Fifth place.

Doumit had three hits, scored three times and drove in three.

Jones also had three hits and three runs knocked home.

Duke picks up win #10.

The Bad

Nothing at all, other than me not being in the Steel City tonight.

The Rest

The 19 players from the 1979 team on hand were:

Matt Alexander, Dale Berra, Bert Blyleven, John Candelaria, Mike Easler, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Lee Lacy, Bill Madlock, Omar Moreno, Steve Nicosia, Ed Ott, Dave Parker, Don Robinson, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett and Kent Tekulve. Chuck Tanner and coach Al Monchak were there along with trainer Tony Bartirome. Willie Stargell’s wife was also there.

Among the deceased in addition to Stargell are Bill Robinson, John Milner, Dave Roberts and Dock Ellis (not on post-season roster). Living players who did not come back were Jim Bibby, Doe Boyland (not on post-season roster), Joe Coleman (not on post-season roster), Tim Foli, Gary Hargis (not on post-season roster), Alberto Lois (not on post-season roster), Rick Rhoden (disabled most of the season), Enrique Romo, Frank Taveras (traded early on for Foli), Ed Whitson (traded for Madlock in June)

This was Doumit’s fifth career game with three runs scored. It was the third time he reached three RBI and three runs scored in one contest.

Jones has six RBI in the last two games.

Duke reached double figures in wins for the second time in his career.

Each of the starting 8 had a hit and scored a run.

Last five game winning streak was May 15 to 20th against Colorado and Washington. Each of the starters were the winning pitcher during the current winning streak.The bullpen picked up three wins during the earlier winning streak.

Luis Cruz got his third start of the year in place of Ronny Cedeno who has a fractured finger.

Welcome back Phil Dumatrait who pitched a scoreless inning, his first game since July 7, 2008.