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).



Cubs Clobber Pirates

This might be a new low. This was horrible. The matinee was broadcast on WGN and I was half tempted to hunker down and watch. I didn’t (guilty conscience prevents me from doing so) and am mightily glad I didn’t.

The Cubs jumped out early with a four run first off of Charlie Morton. The main damage was a three run homer from Kosuke Fukudome. Then Morton didn’t make it out of the second. Chicago sent 14 men to the plate in a 10 run outburst. Morton was pulled for Chris Bootcheck who was greeted very rudely. Morton (three outs and 10 earned runs) and Bootcheck (seven outs and seven runs scored) saw their ERAs take a big hit. Steven Jackson relieved Bootcheck after a bases loaded triple from Derrek Lee plated three runners with one out in the fourth. Jackson went the rest of the way and didn’t allow a run. Hard to say if the Cubs were even trying at that point as they had already built a 17-2 lead.

The beneficiary of all that support was rookie Randy Wells who allowed two runs in six carefree innings.

The Good

Jackson’s effort.

Garrett Jones had two hits.

The Bad

Good grief – 17 runs, 18 hits. Mark it down as one of those days.

The Rest

Lee drove in seven runs, matching a career high set earlier this season on July 2.

In addition to the win, Wells picked up his first multi-hit game in the Show.

Last time the Pirates gave up that many runs was back in 2000 – before PNC was even open. In that game, catcher Keith Osik allowed five 9th inning runs. Last time the Bucs were beaten by 15 runs or more was 4/5/03. That was Jeff D’Amico’s Pirates debut.

This was the 9th time in 2009 that Pirate pitchers allowed 15 or more hits. Pirate hitters have had 15 or more hits six time, doing it just once in the past two months.

Snakes Go Extra to Sweep

The Pirates bullpen faltered again. Leading 6-3 heading into the 7th, Jeff Karstens and Jesse Chavez were unable to preserve the win for Bucco newcomer Kevin Hart. Arizona tied it with a solo homer in the 8th from Trent Oeltjen, who was making his ML debut.

After that it stayed knotted 12th when Arizona pounded Steven Jackson for five runs. Alex Romero hit a game breaking two run double in the 12th.

The Pirates got to Max Scherzer with a four run sixth that drove him from the game. He gave up five runs in 5-1/3. He was long gone before it was decided. Hart wasn’t great, but he left with the lead. He allowed nine hits and three runs in six innings before giving way to Karstens.

The Pirates offense managed just three hits after the sixth inning. Ronny Cedeno drove in a pair of runs in the sixth.

Jon Rauch pitched a scoreless 11th for the win. Jackson dropped his second decision of the year.

The Good

It is early, but Cedeno has hit the ball.

The Bad

The bullpen has struggled recently.

The Rest

Oeltjen is a native of Australia and is the first Aussie born player to homer in his first ML game. He is now tied for sixth among all Australian players in career homers.

Jackson had not been scored on in his previous 10-1/3 innings of work.

In the 4th Andy LaRoche was nabbed trying to swipe home as Hart whiffed.


Houston Rallies Late to Beat Bucs

Steven Jackson gave up three runs in 1.1 innings of work over the 7th and 8th innings as the Pirates dropped two of three to Houston. Miguel Tejada delivered a two out RBI infield single in the 7th to break a 3-3 tie. On that play former Pirate Matt Kata scored from second, not stopping on the play since there were two gone. In the 8th, Jackson put two on with one away and was relieved by Jesse Chavez. He allowed run scoring hits to Humberto Quintero and former Pirate Jason Michaels to put Houston up 6-3.

The Pirates scored once and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Freddy Sanchez in the 9th, but couldn’t come through LaTroy Hawkins.

Ian Snell gave up three runs in six innings. He walked one and whiffed three. Astros starter Felipe Paulino left in the second with a groin issue. He gave way to Russ Ortiz, who tossed 4-1/3 innings of shutout ball. Ortiz was in line for the win but the Pirates scored twice in the visitor’s half of the 7th off of Tim Brydak, setting up Jackson’s ineffective effort.

The Good

Andrew McCutchen logged his first three hit game.

The Pirates defense recorded three double plays, including a strike ’em out/throw ’em out.

Snell was decent. That’s a positive sign.

The Bad

Tough when the bullpen falters.

Ramon Vazquez bobbled Tejada’s grounder in the 7th, allowing

The Rest

This was the 11th career game in which Humberto Quintero had two or more RBI. Three of those are against Pittsburgh. This was his second career three hit game.

Michael Bourn has two hits in five of his last six games.

Jeff Fulchino picked up his first ML win.

Sanchez is in the midst of a 2-18 (and 4-27) streak.