Dodgers Walk to Victory

It looked okay for a brief period. The Pirates rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Randy Wolf had held the Pirates to just a solo homer from Andy LaRoche through six. But Andrew McCutchen’s two run single put the Pirates up 4-3 with just six outs to play.

But the Pirates bullpen came undone. LA scored four runs in the 8th inning, due in large part to four walks issued by three different Pirate relievers. Jim Thome’s first two RBI as a Dodger came via a pinch hit single in that fateful 8th inning. Two other runs were forced home due to bases on balls. Denny Bautista started it, couldn’t finish it and was tabbed the loser. That made a winner of George Sherrill who had gotten the last out for the Dodgers in the 7th.

Wolf – 6-1/3 IP, 2 earned runs on four hits with five walks – and Bucs starter Paul Maholm were left without a decision. Maholm lasted seven and gave up the first three Dodger runs. He gave up seven hits and struck out only one.

The Good

A comeback – almost.

The Bad

All the walks.

The leaky bullpen.

And all the losing in general.

The Rest

Buc pitchers surrendered a total of 8 walks. This was the 7th time all year the club has put that many men on base via free pass. The offense has received that many walks or more just three times this year.

In case you didn’t know, the Pirates have scored the fewest runs in the NL this season. What the second half have looked like without Garrett Jones?

Luis Cruz had his second two hit game of 2009 and drove in his second run on the year.

Since acquring Thome from Chicago, Joe Torre has deployed the slugger only as a pinch hitter. He has been spelling James Loney with Mark Loretta. Thome came into the game hitting just .211 for his career as a pinch hitter. Manny Mota he is not.

Randy Wolf is 7-1 career vs. Pittsburgh. His last loss to the Smoky City Nine was June 30, 2000. Wolf is 3rd all-time in wins among pitchers born in 1976. He is behind Javier Vazquez and Ted Lilly. He is tied with Kelvim Escobar. Also born that year include three members of the Pirate family – Jimmy Anderson, Victor Santos and Brandon Duckworth (Spring Training only for Duckworth).

Bucs most go 6-3 to avoid 100 losses.


Correia’s Arm Leads Padres Past Pittsburgh

I’m not certain a well coached high school pitcher couldn’t beat the Pirates right now. Kevin Correia picked up his 11th win on the year with seven shutout innings. He allowed five singles, a double and no walks. He struck out five.

San Diego’s offense scored three times in six innings against Paul Maholm and tacked on one more against the bullpen in the 9th.

The Good


The Bad

The offense.

Two errors from Ryan Doumit led to a pair of unearned runs for the Friars.

The Rest

This was Correia’s first career win and sixth career appearance (third start) against Pittsburgh.

Bucs have been shutout 15 times in 2009. Washington was an NL worst in 2008 with 21 shoutouts against them.No other NL team has been shutout more than 11 times. Through the years:

2009 – 15

2008 – 7

2007 – 13

2006 – 11

2005 – 9

2004 – 8

2003 – 9

2002 – 15

2001 – 11

2000 – 7

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Maholm Shuts Down Astros

Paul Maholm went 8 shutout innings and the Pirates offense got just enough to give him the win. Maholm evened his record at 8-8 by allowing just five singles, a double and two walks.

Pittsburgh got an RBI single from Garrett Jones in the first off of Felipe Paulino and a solo homer from Ryan Doumit in the 8th. They would need it as Lance Berkman hit a solo dinger off of Matt Capps in the 9th. Capps recovered to get his first save of the month.

Paulino fell to 2-9 but gave up six hits and just that first inning run in five innings. He struck out seven.

The Good


Ending the losing streak.

Maholm pitching well.

The Bad

Continued silence of the bats.

Capps continuing to scuffle.

The Rest

This is the fourth time this year that Maholm has not allowed an earned run in a start. The first since July 17.

Maholm is 8-4 career against Houston, the only team he has beaten more than four times.

Paulino was forced from his last appearance against the Pirates (6/7/09) with a groin injury.

Doumit came into the game hitting .370 in September.

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.




Bucs Drop Pair to Redlegs, Fall Deeper into the Cellar

It was an ugly day-night double header in Cincinnati. Making up a rained out game, the Pirates were beaten in front of a sparse crowd in the afternoon. They returned for the eveing game and were beaten again.

In the opener, the ML debut of Pirates starter Daniel McCutchen was pretty solid. He gave up four singles and a homer (to Drew Stubbs) in six innings, allowing three runs and whiffing five. He was matchd up against Kip Wells, who was also good – six innings and just two runs allowed. But, Jason Jaramillo singled in the 7th off of Carlos Fisher, tying the contest and causing neither starter to get a decision.

But Jesse Chavez allowed two singles and a fly ball to right that moved Darnell McDonald to third. Then Chavez uncorked a wild pitch allowing McDonald to score with the game ending run.

The second game started out rough. Paul Maholm was tagged for three runs in the first. The Reds used five hits and left the bases loaded while batting around. Past the first inning, other than a homer from Brandon Phillips in the third, Maholm was okay. Drew Stubbs added a homer in the night cap in the 8th off of Chavez.

Andrew McCutchen’s solo homer was the highlight of a three run sixth inning, but the Pirates could do little else against Johnny Cueto. He struck out five and allowed one run in 5+ innings. Nick Masset won the opener for Cincy.

The Good

Danny Bautista tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Maholm. He is unscored upon in 2009.

In addition to a good outing, Daniel McCutchen collected his first ML hit and his first ML RBI.

The Bad

Getting swept by a fifth place team.

Being in the cellar.

Being five losses away from securing yet another losing season. It is and has been a foregone conclusion.

The Rest

Last Bucco pitcher to get a hit in his ML debut was Maholm way back on 8/30/05.

You have to go way way back to 6-24-96 and Elmer Dessens to find the last Pirate pitcher to get a hit and an RBI in their first appearance in the Show.

Cueto now has four wins against the Pirates, his most against any team.

Maholm had not lost to Cincy since April 2007 when the Reds beat him twice.

This was the fourth time that Wells started against the Pirates and he was 3-1 in those outings coming into this afternoon’s game.

Howard’s 10th Inning Bomb Foils Bucco Comeback

Paul Maholm and Cole Hamels were each effective over a long stretch. Maholm yielded a solo homer to Chase Utley in the first inning and was otherwise unscored upon in seven innings. He struck out four and gave up five hits. Hamels whiffed seven and allowed seven hits in eight shut out innings.

But the bullpen woes continued for the visitors. Ryan Madson gave up a pinch hit game tying solo dinger to Brandon Moss in the bottom of the 9th.

However, the Pirates bullpen faltered immediately. Steven Jackson started the 10th, but was pulled after allowing the first two runners to reach. Phil Dumatrait relieved and gave up a three run homer to Ryan Howard. Madson held the Pirates at Bay in the 10th and picked up the blown save, win.

The Good

A comeback

Maholm was good.

The Bad

The offense.

Allowing Hamels maybe to find his mojo.

The Rest

Hamels only win against the Pirates in three tries came back in 2006.

Maholm has allowed just two earned runs in his last 23 IP (dating back to 2008) against Philly.

Howard came into the game with just one homer in 55 career ABs at PNC.

Moss homered four times in July, but had not homered in over a month (July 22).


Maholm Pitches Bucs to a Sweep

Paul Maholm evened his record at 7-7 by tossing 7-2/3 innings of one run ball. He gave up seven singles, a double and two walks. Maholm whiffed five Brewers. The defense turned four double plays behind him to help squelch the Milwaukee offense.

The Pirates got their offense on the board quickly and then the bats went silent. Suddenly potent Ronny Cedeno hit a two run dinger off Manny Parra in the second. Delwyn Young added and RBI single the following inning. The Pirates would collect just two more hits after the third inning.

Parra was charged with all three runs in six innings on four hits. He struck out six. Matt Capps tossed a perfect 9th for the save.

The Good


Cedeno is hot like Shawon Dunston back in 1997.

The Bad


The Rest

With Maholm sitting on 7 wins, Zach Duke at 9 and Ross Ohlendorf already in double figures, the Pirates have a chance to have three pitchers with 10 or more wins for the first time since 2003 when Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Jeff Suppan all won 10 on the nose.

Young has eight hits in his last 16 at bats. He has 11 RBI in August, his best monthly total of 2009.

Maholm came into the game just 2-5 in thirteen career starts against the Beer Makers. He hit his second career double and just his third career extra base hit.

Parra entered the game having allowed just three earned runs in 11-2/3 in three career starts against Pittsburgh, both of which were in PNC.