Doumit Powers Pirates to Sweep

The Pirates are on a bit of a mini-roll. Three of four from the Dodgers and now two of three from the Cubs with the final game of the series tomorrow.

Ryan Doumit collected four hits and drove in four runs to back Jeff Karstens and a host of relievers. Doumit hit a two run double that broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning. He later added an RBI single and a solo homer, missing by a triple of the cycle.

Karstens needed 61 pitches to go five innings. He allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out one and whiffed none. He benefited from a couple of double plays behind him. Four relievers combined on four shutout innings of two hit ball to close out the game.

Carlos Zambrano was left with the loss. He was looking for his 10th win, but didn’t find it in the early Fall Chicago evening. He struck out six but gave up six hits and four walks in six innings.

The Good

A sweep and the Bucs have taken five of six for the first time in over a month.

Doumit’s big game.

The Bad

Donnie Veal was wild, getting just one out and walking two. He was rescued when Steven Jackson got a double ply on a line drive from Jake Fox.

The Rest

This was Doumit’s third four RBI game and his first since April of 2009. This was his fifth career four hit game and his first in over a year.

Karstens picked up a win for the first time since 6/10/09.

This was the fourth time in September that Brandon Moss drove in two runs in one game. He had just four games with two RBI heading into September.

This was the 7th time in the last 11 games that Andrew McCutchen collected two or more hits.

Pirates need to go 2-2 to avoid 100 losses.


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.

’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.


Bucs Comeback and Take Series from Milwaukee

Paul Maholm didn’t have it today. Good news is that Jeff Suppan didn’t either. Neither started pitched five innings. Suppan went 3-1/3 and gave up five runs on four homers and three singles. Maholm went 4-2/3 and gave up seven runs, leaving the game with the Pirates behind.

It was an exciting fifth inning. Milwaukee trailed 5-2. But Ryan Braun hit a bases loaded double, scoring all three and then scored on a homer by Casey McGehee. After Bill Hall singled, Maholm was pulled for Joel Hanarahan who got the final out of the inning. The Pirates pulled even in their half off of Seth McClung. Delwyn Young walked and consecutive two out doubles from Andy LaRoche and Ramon Vazquez plated two runs.

It stayed that way until the 9th when Brandon Moss hit a walk off tater off Mitch Stetter with one gone. That made a winner out of Matt Capps, who pitched a scoreless ninth despite putting two runners on.

The Good

A win.

Winning a series.

Scoring 9 runs.

Garrett Jones hit a homer and had two doubles.

Ryan Doumit homered twice and drove in three.

The Bad

Maholm getting hammered.

The Rest

As Matt noted Andy LaRoche was traded. No surprise. Let’s see what Steve Pearce can do.

In the previous 31 games, the Pirates scored 9 runs or more just once (back on 6/24 vs. Cleveland). 13 hits was the most since that same game back on 6/24.

Last time the Bucs hit five round trippers in one game was 7/12/08. Damage was done then by Jason Michaels, Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche and Jason Bay (2). None of them is still a Bucco. Last time anyone on the current roster was involved in a five or more homer game was 8/22/07 when both Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson went deep against Colorado.

This was the fourth time in 2009 that Maholm allowed six or more earned runs. He did that just three times in all of 2008.

This was Jones’ third career three hit game and his second in July.

Doumit homered twice in a game for the first time since 6/10/08 when he connected twice off of Tim Redding of the Nationals. Doumit came into the game hitting just .216 in his career against Milwaukee. He hadn’t homered against the Brewers since doing it in consecutive games on 7/4/07 and 7/5/07.

Braun has more career RBI against Pittsburgh than against any other club.



Offensive Woes Continue to Plague Bucs, Duke

Zach Duke was undone by a single bad inning as Matt Cain countered with 7 innings of one run baseball. Duke gave up four doubles and four runs in the sixth inning. That was enough for cain who allowed Brandon Moss’ solo jack in the 2nd and whiffed eight to move to 11-2 on the year. Duke allowed only three other hits, but the Pirates offense stalled in the match-up of All-Stars.

With Cain gone in the 8th, the Pirates closed to within one on a two run single from Ryan Doumit. But Andy LaRoche hit into an inning ending double play. Brian Wilson finished up the 9th for the save.

The Good

No issues with Duke’s outing. More support would put him on pace for 14-16 wins.

The Bad

The offense

The Rest

Duke beat the Giants twice in 2008, including a shutout on 9/5/08.

This was Cain’s first career win against Pittsburgh. Cain has never beaten NL West rival LA, sporting a career 0-6 mark against the Trolley Dodgers.

Doumit had his first multi-RBI game since 4/13/09.

Had the Pirates broken through in the 8th to go ahead, it would’ve made a winner of Joel Hanrahan who pitched a scoreless inning as first man out of the bullpen after Duke’s seven innings.

Snell Efficient and Monroe Supplies the Boom

Craig Monroe got the start in right today and drove in six runs. He did that by clouting a pair of three run homers. The first came off of Braves starter Jo-Jo Reyes and blew open a 2-0 game. The second came two innings later off of Buddy Carlyle.

Monroe’s outburst came in support of Ian Snell who didn’t need much. He went seven innings and allowed three walks, three singles and a double while preventing any Atlanta runs from scoring.

Ryan Doumit had three doubles and scored three times. Andy LaRoche had three hits – including two doubles – as the Pirates piled up nine extra base hits.

The Good

Monroe’s effort was the first six RBI effort by a Pirate hitter since Jose Castillo on 5/30/06.

LaRoche’s three hit effort was the third of his career.

Snell gets in the win column. He won twice in April in 2008 and then just once more before the All-Star break.

Thanks to three double plays, the Pirates only faced four over the minimum in a very quick (2:22) game.

The Bad

Nothing too bad. Nyjer Morgan is now hitless in his last two games.

The Rest

The Bucs have shut out the Braves two straight games, matching what Atlanta did to the Pirates in Game 6 and Game 7 of the 1991 NLCS. I won’t count that as being a payback in full.

Chipper Jones was out with a thumb injury.

This was Jo-Jo Reyes’ debut against Pittsburgh and his first appearance of 2009.

Duke Sparkles Again

Not sure where this has come from. Magic? Joe Kerrigan? Whatever it is, Zach Duke has won back-to-back starts for the first time since June of last year. After that start 6/9/08 vs. Arizona, Duke’s record was 4-4. He would go 1-10 the rest of the way.

Duke walked two and allowed four hits. The Astros didn’t advance a runner to third until two were out in the seventh. He struck out five. The effort was Duke’s third career shutout. His final win last year was a shutout of SF.

Every Pirate starter had at least one hit – and, no, Andy LaRoche didn’t start – contributing to the win. Adam LaRoche hit a two run homer as part of a five run third and Ryan Doumit added an “oh by the way” solo homer in the 8th to cap the scoring at 7-0. Freddy Sanchez had three doubles.

The Pirates offense was unkind to Astros starter Brian Moehler, who fell to 0-2 on the season.

The Good

More, please from Zach Duke. It’s like 2005 all over again. Good grief, where did this optimism come from?

Adam LaRoche had three hits, giving him his first three hit April game since 4/18/06 when he was still with Atlanta. LaRoche had just one homer and five RBI for all of April 2008. This far into the season, he has two dingers and four RBIs. Is that more optimism?

The Bad

Harry Kalas passed away today. Very sad. Other than Harry Caray, there is probably no other broadcaster I have tried to (poorly) imitate. Here’s a long winded story for you: My brother belongs to a local sports club in Cincinnati that has some wicked cool displays of baseball memorabilia. The club also brings in speakers – numerous Hall of Famers have been in along with a lot of ex-Reds. Mike Schmidt – a Dayton, OH native – was in last week. Part of the program involves a random door prize, which my brother has never won. However, with the Schmidt event, they decided to add a trivia side as well and bring some skill into the contest. The question was off which pitcher did Schmidt clout his 500th homer. The answer, of course, is former Bucco Don Robinson. My brother, of course, knew it and won the door prize – an autographed pair of game worn Mike Schmidt cleats. Upon hearing the story all I could hear in my head was Harry Kalas’ call of the homer – “Michael Jack Schmidt…” And now he is gone.

The Rest

Former Pirates OF Jason Michaels started and had one hit. Former Bucco farmhand Jeff Keppinger – traded in the Kris Benson deal to the Mets – also started and had one hit.

Houston entered the game with the worst offense in the NL, scoring 2.67 runs per game, a full run less than Arizona. This effort won’t help. They were also shutout on Sunday by St. Louis.

Because it was the home opener, Steve Blass threw out the first pitch to celebrate his 50 years of affiliation with the franchise. Unlike Michael Keaton a few years ago, I’m assuming he didn’t criticize the team in a press conference following the pre-game ceremonies.