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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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.

 

 

 

Vasquez Sharp in Bucs Debut

Exit Ian Snell, enter Virgil Vasquez. The Pirates waiver wire acquisition who hadn’t tossed in the Show since 2007 picked up his first career win with six solid innings. He allowed four hits and two runs, while whiffing seven. He took the roster spot of the struggling Ian Snell who was sent to Indianapolis to get straightened out.

The Pirates trailed 2-0 early but came back on the shoulders of three unlikely power sources. Jack Wilson, Nyjer Morgan and Jason Jaramillo each homered to hand the loss to Gil Meche.

Matt Capps finished up by allowing a home run in the 9th and putting the tying run on base.

The Good

Welcome Virgil Vasquez! More, please!

Andrew McCutchen had his hitting streak stopped but reached base on an HBP and BB and scored both times.

The Bad

The offense continues to just get by with enough runs in putting together a three game winning streak.

The Rest

Vasquez joins Steven Jackson as Pirates who notched their first career win in 2009.

Vasquez’ seven K performance is second best on the team in June. He topped seven whiffs at AAA Indy this season just once.

Jack Wilson has raised his BA 20 points in the last 10 games by hitting safely in 9 of 10 contests and piling up four multi-hit games.

Duke Outduels Santana

That headline is a shocker. Dewey defeats Truman. Man bites dog. Things you don’t expect to see in print. But it happened. Zach Duke allowed 8 singles and one run in seven innings against NYM. He was touched in the fifth when the Mets put together two singles, a sac bunt and a sac fly. In the third, he was spared a run when Nate McLouth gunned down Jeremy Reed at the plate.

Jason Jaramillo’s first career tater tied it in the bottom of the fifth. The Pirates had two on with one gone later in the inning when Nyjer Morgan hit into a DP. Morgan didn’t like the call and was tossed from the game. The Bucs forged ahead one inning later off of Johan Santana (6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). A Freddy Sanchez single preceded consecutive doubles from McLouth and Andy LaRoche to put the Pirates up 3-1.

That’s where it stayed. John Grabow and Matt Capps contributed a perfect inning of relief to the effort.

The Good

I’m digging the 2009 Zach Duke. His ERA is 2.62.

Sanchez had two more hits, including his 19th double. McLouth had a triple to go with his double.

The Bad

I got nothing.

The Rest

Bucs are 2-0 in June.

This was Santana’s first career loss against the Buccos. His last start was a three hit complete game shutout (8-17-08).

This was Duke’s first win against NYM since 9-17-06.

Sanchez is 18 for his last 38 ABs.

The Pirates were collectively hitting less than .200 against Santana before going 7-18 tonight.

 

Sanchez’ 6 Hits Paces Offensive Outburst

Freddy Sanchez had six hits in six trips to the plate, knocked in three and scored four times to pace a season high 18 hit attack. Andy LaRoche and Jason Jaramillo each had three hits. Andy LaRoche drove in two runs and Nate McLouth contributed the go ahead RBI with a two run homer off of losing pitcher Neal Cotts.

Neither starter was around long as both Paul Maholm (4 IP, 7 H, 7 ER) and Ryan Dempster (4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER) were used as BP pitchers.

It was a see-saw event as there were seven ties or lead changes. Tom Gorzelanny pitched two innings to get the win. He was followed by five pitchers. Matt Capps was hit in the elbow by a line drive in the 9th inning and was pulled from the game. The P-G reports that there is no “structural damage” to his elbow. Sean Burnett relieved to seal the game.

The Good

Season high 18 hits.

Jesse Chavez is unscored upon in his last seven outings, covering seven innings.

The Bad

I don’t think it has ever been good to have a pitcher get hit in the elbow by a liner.

Maholm is allowed to have an outing like this every once in a while. But it wasn’t pretty.

The Rest

This is the second time in 2009 that Maholm has allowed six or more earned runs in a start. He did it twice in all of 2008.

This is the second time in 2009 that one player had a five hit a game and another had six hits on the same day. Today it was Sanchez and Alex Rodriguez. On 4/15/09 it was teammates Ian Kinsler (six knocks) and Marlon Byrd.

This was the 52nd time in the Retrosheet era that someone collected six or more knocks in one game. There have been 144 different instances of a player hitting for the cycle in the same time frame.

This was Jaramillo’s first three hit game of his career.

Another Blown Lead, Another Brewer Win

The Pirates gave Paul Maholm a 5-1 lead to work with. And for a while it looked like it might hold up. Maholm left the bases full of Beer Makers in the third and fourth innings. But the wheels came off in the fifth and sixth.

After scoring twice in the fifth, Bill Hall led off the home half of the sixth with a solo homer to make it a one run game. One out later, Craig Counsell singled and Maholm was pulled in favor of Jesse Chavez. He was greeted by Rickie Weeks who lined a two run, go ahead homer just over the wall in left field. That put Milwaukee up for good.

The Milwaukee pen allowed just one Pirate runner over the final four frames.

Jason Jaramillo and Eric Hinske each drove in two runs for the Pirates to pace the early innings attack.

The Good

No complaints about the production from Jaramillo. He hit his fifth double and drove in two. His BA is a nice .345.

Milwaukee was 1-9 with RISP. This could’ve been much worse. Of course, Bucco hitters were just 2-9. So, maybe it could’ve been better.

The Bad

Bucs hurlers gave up nine walks.

Pirates have dropped an unbelievable 17 straight at Miller Park.

Andy LaRoche’s hitting streak was snapped at 11 games.

The Rest

Clearly Jerry Crasnick’s story has jinxed the Pirates pitchers.

It tells you how far he has fallen in the batting order – Jason Kendall drew his third IBB of the season. That gives him 10 free passes in the past two seasons. Between 2001 and 2005 he was walked intentionally a total of 10 times.