Morton Fires Shutout at Wriglies

Turn about is fair play. At least that’s what they say. After being held to zero runs by Ryan Dempster on Tuesday night, Charlie Morton threw his first career shutout against the Cubs in the first game of a double header on Wednesday.

Morton allowed just four singles and three walks. He struck out a career best eight hitters. Ryan Theriot collected three of Chicago’s hits.

On the other side, Ted Lilly was troubled by a four run first. The Pirates collected three hits in the first and just three more thereafter. The outburst was triggered in part by Lastings Milledge aggressively breaking up a double play grounder that allowed Steve Pearce to be safe at first and scored a run. Jason Jaramillo followed with a two run, two out double for the second and third tallies. Brian Bixler’s single scored Jaramillo for the final run of the game.

Lilly struck out 8 in seven innings. He allowed five hits.

The Good

Morton’s effort.

Milledge going hard into second.

The Bad

Bucs whiffed 11 times overall.

The Rest

Morton’s previous career mark for whiffs was six, last accomplished 8/27/09 against Philadelphia. He had never pitched past the 7th inning before. He needed 119 pitches to complete the game. His previous high for pitches chucked in one game was 111, which he did in a six inning start for Atlanta last August.

This was Jaramillo’s first two RBI game since 8/31/09 against the Reds. Brian Bixler’s RBI was his first since April 26.

This was the 27th time the Pirates have struck out 10 or more times. Arizona leads the Show with 53 such games.

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Bucs Make Nary a Whimper in Record Setting 82nd Loss

Outlined against a blue-gray September sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction, and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Poor Player Development, Weak Amateur Scouting, Lopsided Trades and Ill-Advised Free Agent Signings.

Apologies to Grantland Rice…

If it wasn’t already officially football season in Pittsburgh, it is now. I think football season begins in the Steel City as soon as the Steelers start training camp.

It was an ugly gray day in Pittsburgh. I kept hoping that the skies would open up and the 82nd loss would come not as the result of a 27th out, but rather by the hands of the umpiring crew deeming the field to be unplayable. But not even that indignity could be spared. Let the record show that the final out was a routine fly ball off the bat of Lastings Milledge that found itself easily captured by Kosuke Fukudome. Is it irony that when the Pirates losing season streak started, only one player of Japanese decent had ever appeared in the Show, yet the player who recorded the last putout came from that island nation?

Ted Lilly and three Cub relievers combined on a 2 hitter as the Pirates were beaten for the 82nd time this season. Derrek Lee drove in three runs with a pair of homers. Both Pirate hits went for extra bases (solo homer from Andy LaRoche and an RBI double from Brandon Moss). Daniel McCutchen was serviceable – giving up nine hits and four runs in seven innings.

The Good

LaRoche homered.

The Bad

82 losses. Officially.

Getting two-hit.

The Rest

By the numbers – LaRoche and Moss have 15 homers and 83 RBI in 762 ABs. Jason Bay has 31/98 in 452 at bats.

Ted Lilly is now 4-1 against the Pirates all-time.

In just seven games in 2009, Lee has 12 RBI against the Pirates.

Ohlendorf Frustrates Cubs on Momentous Day

So why was this a momentous day? Two reasons:

1. The 100th anniversary of the opening of Forbes Field

2. For the second straight year the Pirates have traded away 2/3 of their starting outfield.

Ross Ohlendorf picked up his 7th win by tossing seven shutout innings to overshadow (at least temporarily) all of that. He allowed three singles, a double and no walks while striking out eight.

Freddy Sanchez played the role of a man picking up the empty pieces of an offense. He had a part in all three Pirate runs, driving in a pair and scoring the third. He also stole a base.

The Cubs didn’t threaten until they put two on with none gone against John Grabow in the 8th. But Grabow held on, whiffing Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome before getting Derrek Lee to ground out. Matt Capps pitched the 9th for the save.

The Good

A winning June. First one since 1996. Unbelievable.

Nice job by Ohlendorf. Second on the staff in wins.

Need more of that from Sanchez.

I have to say I’m happy thus far on the return for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett. Lastings Milledge seems to have been around for a while, but he just turned 24. The only member of the club younger than him is Andrew McCutchen.

Ted Lilly gave up all three runs to the Pirates. The first of which scored when Freddy Sanchez scored from second on a strike three when Geovany Soto’s throw to Lilly covering home went through the pitcher’s wickets.

The Bad

McCutchen is just 1-18. His first struggle at this level. Hopefully he works out of it soon.

Delwyn Young has two hits in his last 18 at bats.

The Rest

Ohlendorf established a single game mark for whiffs.

Welcome Garrett Jones who was brought up from Indy before the game. He didn’t appear tonight. He spent the better part of the last four years in AAA averaging better than 20 homers a year.

Lilly was 3-0 in his career against the Pirates coming in.