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.

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Twins Pound Maholm

Minnesota unleashed a ton of hits at Paul Maholm. He surrendered eight runs in five plus innings. The Pirates were unable to do much off his counterpart, Minnesota’s Glen Perkins who won his first start since coming off the DL.

Joe Mauer had four hits and six diferent Twins drove in a run. Two other runs scored on double play balls. The Pirates lone tallies came on a homer from Nyjer Morgan.

 

The Good

Not much to report other than the Pirates turned five double plays in total

Delwyn Young singled and doubled

The Bad

Maholm was hit hard for the first time all year.

Andrew McCutchen lost a ball in the Metrodome roof.

The Rest

That was a career worst in hits allowed for Paul Maholm with 14. He only allowed eight earned runs or more one other time in his career: 9-16-07 against Houston in 2-2/3 IP.

Morgan’s only other career homer came leading off the bottom of the first on 9/25/07 against Arizona’s Doug Davis.

Long Balls Doom Bucs

The Pirates took an early lead, fell behind quickly, tied it up late and lost it in regulation.

The Bucco offense plated two in the first in support of Jeff Karstens. It might’ve been more, but Freddy Sanchez was thrown out at home on a single from Adam LaRoche.

But, Karstens quickly allowed the Beer Makers to take the lead. Solo homers in the first (Ryan Braun) and third (Mike Cameron) formed the bread of a three run homer sandwich that came in the second off the bat of Rickie Weeks.

The Pirates eeked back into it with an RBI from Eric Hinske in the fifth and a game tying two run double from Freddy Sanchez with two out in the 8th.

But the wheels came off the bullpen in the 8th. Tyler Yates walked Bill Hall to start then inning, then plunked Jason Kendall (his second HBP of the game). Craig Counsell (from Notre Dame) delivered a sac bunt and the go ahead run scored on a fielder’s choice grounder from Weeks. John Grabow relieved Yates and gave up a two run double to Corey Hart. All told, Milwaukee tallied five times in the 8th to put the game away.

Todd Coffey was the winner, having recorded the last out in the top of the 8th.

The Good

No complaints about the offense. 11 hits and four walks would be enough to win most games.

Nyjer Morgan had two singles and a walk and scored three times.

The Bad

Karstens was uneven. He allowed five hits and five runs in five innings and all five hits were for extra bases – three dingers, a double and a triple. It could’ve been worse, actually

The bullpen imploded in the 8th.

Pirate pitchers walked 8 Brewer hitters.

The Rest

Trevor Hoffman finished the game for Milwaukee, making his 2009 debut. Last time he pitched for a team other than San Diego was 6/22/93. I was heading into my final year of college.

This was the 10th time in his career that Kendall was HBP twice in the same game. Last time was 7/17/05 when he was with Oakland.

Bucs Sweep Marlins

The Pirates have taken the Marlins for three straight games. The offense was powered by the LaRoche brothers. Adam had four hits and three doubles and Andy drove in two runs.

Paul Maholm retired the first nine Marlin clubbers before struggling through innings 4-6 by giving up four runs and eight hits. The bullpen combined four pitches to toss three shutout innings.

Maholm departed after six with the score tied at four. But newcomer Delwyn Young doubled with one out as a pinch hitter. He scored on a single from Nyjer Morgan. The Bucs OF took second on the throw home. He then stole third and scored on a throwing error from none other than Ronny Paulino.

The Good

Maholm has won three straight starts for the second time in his career and the first time since August 2007.

Adam LaRoche’s BA is above .300. And it is April.

The Bad

I got nothing

The Rest

Bucs have a travel day tomorrow to travel to SD and then MIL.

Harang Handles Bucs Bats

Not much you can do on a day when just four runners reach base. Aaron Harang faced just thirty hitters, allowed three singles and an HBP in 108 pitches to notch a complete came shutout.

The Pirates best chance to score came in the first inning when Nyjer Morgan’s blooper bounced off the glove of a diving Willy Taveras. Morgan was in safely with a sliding double. But he was stranded.

The Reds wasted no time in getting to Ian Snell. In the first Taveras doubled and Brandon Phillips pulled out outside pitch over the wall in left. Those would be the only runs of the game. I predict that Phillips will make his first All-Star team this year.

Snell would settle in and allow just three singles and three walks over the next five innings. He struck out seven.

The Good

No issues with Snell’s effectiveness. If he can do that consistently, it’ll be just fine.

Morgan reached base three times with an HBP and two more hits. He was caught stealing.

The Pirates turned a nifty double play with Jack Wilson’s diving stop starting it. The Buccos also turned a triple play on a blooper that Wilson fielded.

Second straight game without an error, though Jay Bruce’s infield squibber to Ramon Vazquez in the eighth was bobbled by the Bucs 3B and ruled a hit.

The Bad

The bats were silenced by Harang. There was barely a hard hit ball.

Andy LaRoche remains zero for 2009.

The Rest

Last time the Buccos turned a triple play was 8-10-93 when Gregg Jeffries lined to Jay Bell who relayed to Carlos Garcia at second and he in turn flipped it to Kevin Young at first. Cards prevailed when Brian Jordan homered off of Joel Johnston in the ninth.

My favorite other “Last Time it Happened” from the 2008 Pirates media guide: Last time a starter failed to record an out was – who else? – Ryan Vogelsong on 9-24-04 against the Reds. He allowed three singles, three walks and a double before being yanked. The beneficiary of Vogelsong’s outing was none other than Aaron Harang.

Ouch to my alma mater, the Miami University Redskins (Redhawks) who lost in last night’s NCAA Hockey final. Tough to watch.