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.

 

 

 

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Schumakers PH Dinger Keys Card Comeback, Sweep

Matt Capps entered early – with one out in the 8th – and promptly lost the game. He allowed a pinch hit homer to the first batter he faced – Skip Schumaker – as St. Louis scored five runs in the 8th to win 7-3 and sweep the series.

Zach Duke had pitched effectively for the first 7-1/3 inning. After hitting for himself in the bottom of the 7th, Duke was pulled one out and one on in the 8th. After Capps gave up the go ahead dinger, he plunked Albert Pujols and was ejected from the game. Pujols was visibly angry and in some pain as the result of taking one off his torso. Jesse Chavez relieved and threw some gas on the fire as St. Louis scored three more times.

The Pirates collected seven hits in the 2nd and 3rd innings combined to take a 3-0 lead off of Joel Pineiro. The big blow was a two run homer from Steve Pearce in the second. But Pineiro settled in and pitched seven innings. The Pirates would get just two more hits off him after the third – both by Ramon Vazquez.

The Pirates put two on with no one out in the 8th off the St. Louis bullpen, but could not draw closer.

Duke went 7-1/3 and gave up two earned runs to get the no decision. Capps was the loser. Pineiro won and Kyle McClellan retired the final five hitters for a long save.

The Good

Duke was good again. One of these games, he’ll get some run support.

Vazquez, Lastings Milledge and Delwyn Young each had two hits.

In the 4th Jason Jaramillo’s snap throw to first picked off Bengie Molina to end the inning.

The Bad

The bullpen.

The Pirates drew no walks.

The defense faltered. Each of St. Louis first two runs came on errant pick off attempts. Duke tossed one into left in the fourth inning. That allowed Julio Lugo to move to third and he scored on a sac fly. In the 7th, Duke picked off Matt Holliday, who broke for second. But Pearce’s throw went into left field. Holliday went to third as a very weak throw from Milledge – and I was surprised at how bad a throw it was – was late. He also scored on a sacrifice fly.

Bucs hit into three double plays.

The Rest

Tony LaRussa will pick a spot to retaliate against the Pirates for Pujols getting plunked. The Cards are back in town in early September. The question is who does he hit? Andrew McCutchen is liable to steal. Garrett Jones isn’t a big enough name. That would leave either Ryan Doumit or Lastings Milledge.

Pineiro came into the game with a 5.66 ERA against Pittsburgh. He picked up his 10th win of the season. This is the first time he hit double digits in wins since 2003.

Bizarre jersey of the weekend winner was a teenage guy wearing a ketchup Jeff Andrews jersey. Didn’t see that one coming at all. I figured that he must’ve won it as part of some promotional give away. I can’t imagine someone buying it. On the St. Louis side, someone had a Fernando Tatis jersey. I also saw someone wearing a Pat Neshek jersey t-shirt. But that doesn’t count because the Tigers weren’t in town. Plus he hasn’t pitched in over a year.

On the discount rack in the clubhouse store were an array of Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson and Adam LaRoche jersey t-shirts. Also some Zach Duke ketchup jersey tees. If the very poorly run Pirates marketing department would make jersey tees for the 1970s era Pirates (and even some guys from the 1980s), there would be another benefit, as my brother noted: they’d never have to discount the shirts as the result of a trade.  

I’m often critical of the Pirates marketing department, but I have to praise them for the free spin on the prize wheel promo. It isn’t too often that teams give something away for free. It’d be a good deal if it cost $1. But out of the four spins between my brother and I over the weekend, we collected two bobble heads and a hat (plus a coupon for discount tickets, which I pitched).

A new casino opened in Pittsburgh at noon. Attendance was 24,000 – not too shabby.

 

Bucs Win 2nd Straight as Ohlendorf Stops Cards

Ross Ohlendorf beat the Cards in his third attempt. St. Louis beat him twice in St. Louis. But Ohlendorf bested them tonight with six innings of two hit ball. One of those hits was a solo dinger from Skip Schumaker.

On the other side, Nyjer Morgan’s two run single capped a three run fifth off of Joel Pineiro to give the Pirates a nice cushion. Jack Wilson had three hits and Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez and Brandon Moss had two hits each.

The Good

Tough to argue with Ohlendorf’s line. 6 IP, 2 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 1 ER

The Bad

Nothing too much. Jesse Chavez and Matt Capps allowed three straight singles in the 9th to help the Cards pull within three runs. Chris Duncan hit into a game ending DP.

The Rest

Moss’ last streak of multi-hit games was 8/24-26/08.

Bucs last beat St. Louis in consecutive games on 9/12-14/08.