Saturday, July 21, 2018

Pirates Cruise Past Reds 6-2 For Eighth Straight Win

Still raining in Cincy, but they got this one off on time even as the drops fell.

The Bucs opened by lining one off Anthony DeSclafani; he was OK and a fortuitous ricochet turned it into an out. Starling kept on keepin' on with a knock, but was gunned out at second after oversliding, confirmed by review, and a fly made it a 1-2-3 frame. Nick Kingham walked the first two Reds he saw on 3-2 pitches; the rain is prob not helping him. He fell behind Joey Votto 2-0, then got him to roll one to S-Rod to start a 4-6-3 DP on a good feed and turn. Another grounder ended the frame. After a pair of whiffs in the second, J-Bell bled an 0-2 pitch to short for an infield knock, but DeSclafani finished by striking out the side. Cincy went down in order. With two gone in the third, Corey D caught a curve and sent it into the batter's eye to draw first blood. The Redlegs wasted a two-out double. El Coffee opened the fourth with a two-bagger and Red Beard walked. After a meeting at the mound, J-Bell doubled home a run on the next pitch. S-Rod's grounder froze them, and Jordy was given a free pass before The King K'ed.

Nick did it all tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Then the umps sent everyone off the field as the tarps came out; it resumed 45 minutes or so later. Nick stayed loose during the delay, giving up just a two-out single. DeSclafani returned for the fifth; Corey D knocked his first pitch out of the park, bringing on Kyle Crockett. Eli doubled with two outs and moved to third on a wild pitch but died there. The Reds went down quietly, getting a runner to first on Kingham's throwing error. Michael Lorenzen took the bump for the sixth and J-Bell singled. An out later, Jordy doubled him to third.This time Nick helped himself, bouncing a soft single into center with the infield in to plate the pair. Corey D hit into a force and stole second, but Starling left him there. The Redlegs had no response. Amir Garrett toed the slab in the seventh and put Pittsburgh away. With an out and a runner at first, Curt Casali got a belt-high heater on a 3-2 pitch and dropped it barely into the stands for your classic GABP dinger to make it 5-2 and bring in Edgar Santana. He gave up a knock, fanned Billy Hamilton ("strike five, you're out" noted Joe Block correctly) and cruised out.

Jared Hughes got the eighth inning work order. J-Bell opened with a knock and S-Rod dropped a bunt single. Jordy sacrificed them up. Freeser's bouncer to second got Josh thrown out at home, but a wild pitch brought S-Rod in before the frame ended. Kyle Crick took the ball. Two K's around a Votto liner took it to the ninth and Raisel Iglesias. He sailed through the frame. Felipe Vazquez came on, and after a whiff, he gave up a double and bopped a batter. Then he settled in and took it home. RTJR.

Corey D is getting his power stroke back (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The team's hitting on all cylinders now; it'll be an interesting series when they get to first-place Cleveland on Monday.

Notes:

  • J-Bell had four hits and is batting .267 now. He was at .243 on June 23rd.
  • Starling's hitting streak is now a career-high 14 games after his first-inning rap.
  • Corey Dickerson has homered in three straight games. He's done that once before in 2014. Today was his seventh career multi-homer game.
  • Max Moroff said that his slide that landed Alex Blandino on the DL was caused when his spikes got caught in the muddy infield, twisting him into Blandino. He added that he apologized to the Reds' infielder after the play and was surprised to learn that he was hurt so badly (torn ACL) per Steven Nesbitt of the Post Gazette
  • Cervy has been cleared to resume baseball activities and was taking infield at 1B this afternoon, although he swears he wants to keep on catching.
  • Indy's Chris Bostick is back at AAA after rehabbing following appendicitis surgery.

Pirates at Reds, Kingham v DeSclafani & Notes

Today: First pitch is at 7:10. The game will be carried by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. The forecast is for scattered thunderstorms during the late afternoon/night, so might be another late one.

Pitchers: RHP Nick Kingham (4-4, 4.26) meets RHP Anthony DeSclafani (4-1, 4.43). Nick has been on a roller coaster ride, but by and large has performed in big league fashion with room to improve; his control and swing-and-miss are promising (two walks, nine K/per nine innings), but giving up long balls (10 in 50-2/3 IP) offsets those peripherals. So we'll see how he develops; Nick should have a longer run this time around with Chad Kuhl's injury. He hasn't faced the Reds. DeSclafani has had three rough outings in his last four trips to the mound, and like The King, his strikeout/walk rate is fine but homers bite him (seven in his last 22 IP). He beat Pittsburgh a month ago, giving up two runs on solo shots in 5-2/3 frames.

Riding with The King (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Lineup: Corey Dickerson LF, Starling Marte CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Elias Diaz C, Colin Moran 3B, Josh Bell 1B, S-Rod 2B, Jordy SS & Kingham P. J-Hay is still down with a sore hammy, so S-Rod will carry on.

Notes:
  • The Pirates have won seven straight and 9-of-10 to get their season record back to .500 for the first time since June 18th. It’s the longest winning streak for Pittsburgh since winning seven in a row from June 29th through July 6th, 2016. Pittsburgh’s last eight game winning streak came from September 19-26th, 2015.
  • Starling has tied his career best with a 13-game hitting streak going on.
  • Corey Dickerson has homered in back-to-back games for the second time this season.
  • Max Moroff's hard slide in the ninth inning last night caused some major damage. The recipient, 2B Alex Blandino, was placed on the 10-day DL with a torn ACL in his right knee.
  • LHP Enny Romero, recently claimed by KC from the Pirates, was just DFA'ed by the Royals.

7/21 Through the 50s: Satchel Pizzazz;Lloyd's 22-Gamer; Flash HoF; Game Stories; HBD Cy & Dick

  • 1877 - LHP Irv “Young Cy” Young was born in Columbia Falls, Maine. Irv worked on the railroad and played amateur ball; he didn’t join a pro team until he was 27 and was good enough to be in the majors the following year. He was a star pitcher for a terrible team, the Boston Beaneaters, and the Pirates had interest in him even then; they offered to buy him in September of his 1905 rookie campaign for $7,500 but were turned down. Irv returned to earth and in 1908 he was traded to the Pirates for pitchers Tom McCarthy and Harley Young. In 16 games for the Bucs, Young was 4-3-1, 2.01. Sadly for Irv, the 1909 Bucs were loaded with pitchers - their top six starters were Vic Willis, Howie Camnitz, Nick Maddux, Lefty Leifield, Babe Adams & Deacon Phillippe - and despite Irv’s strong showing, he was on the outside looking in. Young Cy returned with the White Sox in 1910 and pitched well, but after the following season, his age 34 campaign, he was done. Fun fact: in 1905, Irv went 20-21 for the Boston Beaneaters to become one of two pitchers in modern (post–1900) era to win 20 games for a team that lost 100 games (51-103), and also had the most wins for a pitcher with an overall losing record. 
Irv Young 1908 (Conlon Collection/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1923 - Pittsburgh swept a twinbill from Boston at Braves Field 14-4 and 6-4. In the first game, Pie Traynor (who homered), Rabbit Maranville and Carson Bigbee each had three hits and combined for seven RBI/six runs to back Johnny Morrison’s complete game effort. Wilbur Cooper took the nitecap, not only going the distance but adding a pair of hits, including a triple, and three RBI to aid the cause. Traynor, Maranville and C Walter Schmidt had two knocks each, scoring five times. 
  • 1927 - IF Dick Smith was born in Blandburg, Cambria County. The Bucs signed him out of Lock Haven, and from 1951-55 he yo-yoed back and forth between Pittsburgh and the minors. In 70 games over that span, he hit .134, never reaching the Mendoza Line in any of his five campaigns. But he was a decent minor league hitter, and his pro career spanned from 1949-60 with the last seven years spent mainly in the PCL before he retired at age 32. 
  • 1932 - The Pirates tied the Chicago Cubs in the seventh on a Dave Barbee triple and Gus Suhr sac fly, then with the bases empty and two outs in the ninth rallied for a 3-2 win at Forbes Field. Pie Traynor singled and came all the way around in the final frame when Lloyd Waner, who had entered the game in the eighth inning, took the next pitch to left center to plate Pie with a walk-off double. Ray Kremer tossed a complete game seven hitter for the win over Jumbo Elliott. Little Poison’s pinch knock kept alive a 22-game hitting streak, and gave him hits in 31-of-32 games. 
Ray Kremer 1932 (photo The Sporting News collection)
  • 1942 - At Forbes Field‚ KC Monarchs pitcher Satchel Paige walked the bases loaded to face the Homestead Gray’s legendary basher Josh Gibson. Years earlier‚ Paige had told Gibson that one day he would strike him out with the bases loaded, and the showman decided now was the time. "Three fastballs‚ Josh‚" Paige said‚ and then blew three past him. Later that year, Paige won three Negro League World Series games against Homestead to lead KC to the title. 
  • 1947 - Frankie “The Fordham Flash” Frisch was enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Though he never played for the Bucs, he managed the club from 1940-46. His teams were usually competitive but never serious contenders, and Frisch's years with the Pirates were remembered more for his on-field antics and umpire-baiting than victories. 
  • 1956 - Brooks Lawrence took his 13-game winning streak into the ninth with a 3-1 lead, but his string was snapped by Roberto Clemente, who hit a three-run homer as the Pirates edged the Cincinnati Reds‚ 4-3, at Crosley Field. Lawrence gave up just six hits, but three of them were bunched up in the ninth. The first run was chased home by Frank Thomas, who had two hits. Elroy Face, who tossed two scoreless innings, won in relief of Bob Friend.

7/21 From 1960-80: Pinch Hitters Day; Willies Last Blast; Cobra Cover; Game Stories; HBD Kimera

  • 1960 - The eventual World Champs chalked up a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers at the LA Coliseum. Vern Law, who would win the 1960 Cy Young Award, tossed a complete game, surrendering five hits to defeat Johnny Podres. Hal Smith hit a pair of solo home runs and Roberto Clemente knocked in the other two RBI in the victory. 
  • 1962 - Jim Marshall came off the bench in the 11th frame and delivered a bases-loaded single to vault the Pirates past his former club, the San Francisco Giants, by a 7-6 score at Forbes Field. Don Hoak led the attack with three hits, including a triple, and three RBI. Roberto Clemente ran his hitting streak to 18 games with two raps before the Giants snapped his string the next day. Neither starter got through the third as Al McBean and San Fran’s Digger O’Dell were chased early. The teams combined to use nine pitchers, with ElRoy Face besting Don Larsen. 
Jim Marshall (photo via Sports Memorabilia)
  • 1963 - Pinch hitter Jerry Lynch drilled a three-run home run off Chicago's Lindy McDaniel in the ninth inning to tie the Cubs 5-5 at Forbes Field. Lynch’s homer was his 14th career round-tripper off the bench, tying the MLB mark set by former Cincinnati teammate, George Crowe. The Bucs eventually won the contest in 14 innings, 6-5, on Bill Virdon’s two-out infield single to salvage a doubleheader split. The Pirates had 22 hits during the game, but stranded 15 runners. Roberto Clemente hit into a 3-6 triple play in the second frame, lining out to first baseman Merritt Ranew, who stepped on first to force Manny Mota and then threw to second to retire Ducky Schofield, giving an early indication of what kind of grind-it-out contest was on tap for the Bucs. 
  • 1972 - Coach Kimera Bartee was born in Omaha. After a six-year pro career as an outfielder, mostly with Detroit, Bartee was hired as the Bucs’ roving minor league outfield & baserunning coordinator in 2008 with a 2011 stint as short-season State College’s skipper. In the 2016 offseason, he was promoted to the Pirates as the outfield/baserunning coach. 
  • 1979 - Dave Parker was a cover boy of The Sporting News in the magazine’s All-Star issue along with George Brett, Fred Lynn & Pete Rose. The Cobra showcased his powerful arm by throwing out Jim Rice at third base and Brian Downing at home. At the dish, Parker added an RBI on a sac fly and was named the game's MVP. 
Willie Stargell 1982 Donruss
  • 1982 - Willie Stargell hit his final bomb, a club record 475th home run, against the Reds’ Tom Hume. It was an eighth inning, game-winning, pinch-hit solo shot in a 3-2 victory at Riverfront Stadium to give Larry McWilliams the win, backed by a two-inning save by Kent Tekulve. 
  • 1983 - The Pirates walked off with a 5-4 decision over the LA Dodgers at TRS for their 10th win in 11 games, the first leg of a 20-of-25 July winning streak that would carry them from fifth place to first. The City of Angels raced out to a 4-1 lead behind Fernando Valenzuela, but the Pirates chipped away with single runs in the seventh and the eighth to trim the gap to one. The Bucs had a runner on first in the ninth, thanks to a Dodger boot, with two down when Bill Madlock singled and Jason Thompson drew a walk off Steve Howe. Jim Morrison became the hero when his bases-loaded rap into left chased home two runs to give Kent Tekulve, the Pirates fourth pitcher, the victory.

7/21 From the 90s Forward: Splashdown Stairs; #11 Retired; Grilli Inked; Tomlin Gem; Game Stories

  • 1991 - Randy Tomlin spun a three-hit, complete game masterpiece against the Cincinnati Reds at TRS, winning by a 6-0 score and allowing just four baserunners, none whom made it past first base. (That no-one-past-first feat wouldn’t be duplicated by the Buccos again until 2017 when Steven Brault and three relievers stopped the Milwaukee Brewers). Andy Van Slyke and Don Slaught both had two-run raps while Gary Redus had three hits, missing the cycle by a homer, and scored twice. 
Randy Tomlin 1991 Classic
  • 1997 - The Pirate “Freak Show” stayed alive with a 3-2 win over Curt Schilling and The Phillies at Veteran’s Stadium. Philadelphia jumped ahead 2-0 on Esteban Loaiza, but Al Martin’s homer off a hanging forkball in the sixth tied it. Keith Osik led off the next frame with a double and went to third on a grounder, but a suicide squeeze attempt by Kevin Polcovich fizzled and Osik was caught at home. Kevin made amends, working the count full and then yanking a heater over the fence in left. Matt Reubel, Marc Wilkins and Rich Loiselle closed the door after that, and despite striking out 17 times, the Bucs remained in the race. 
  • 2003 - Matt Stairs became the first player to hit two home runs into the Allegheny River (both on the bounce) with a splashdown during a 5-3 win over Houston. He hit his first river ball while playing for the Cubs two years before. Josh Fogg got the win with plenty of bullpen help; the last of three relievers, Mike Lincoln, got the save. 
  • 2007 - The Pirates retired Paul "Big Poison" Waner's #11 in a ceremony before their game vs. the Astros on the 55th anniversary of his 1952 Hall of Fame induction. Waner was the first NL player since Honus Wagner, 28 years before, and the seventh batter in history to reach 3,000 knocks. (He got #3,000 against his old teammate Rip Sewell on June 19th, 1942, as a Boston Brave.) The team had a video presentation, the family on the field, and rolled his #11 into the outfield grass for the contest. The Bucs celebrated by ending a seven game losing streak, toppling Houston 7-3, although they reverted to form and lost seven of the next eight contests.  
  • 2008 - The Bucs ended a six-loss-in-seven-games streak with a 9-3 win over Houston at Minute Maid Park. Freddy Sanchez had three hits, including a homer, and four RBI. Jason Bay went 4-for-5 with a homer, Nate McLouth and Xavier Nady had three hits and Adam LaRoche chipped in with a home run. It wasn’t an easy win despite the final score; the game didn’t become a laugher until the Bucs rallied from behind with seven runs in the ninth inning to make Tyler Yates a winner. 
Jason Grilli 2013 Topps
  • 2011 - The Pirates signed Jason Grilli from Philadelphia’s AAA Lehigh club; he had an major league opt-out clause that he exercised to join the Buccos. “Grilled Cheese” pitched for Pittsburgh from 2011-14 with a line of 3-11-47/3.01 and a K rate of 12.4 batters per nine innings. He went from bridge man to closer, taking Joel Hanrahan’s spot in 2013 and earning an All-Star berth with 33 saves. Grilli had a down campaign in 2014 and was swapped in a change of scenery deadline deal for the Angels’ Ernesto Frieri, with Mark Melancon taking over the Pirates closer duties. 
  • 2013 - The Pirates snapped a three game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Reds at GABP. Jeff Locke gave up one hit over six, but allowed a run on back-to-back walks, a bunt, and a two-out wild pitch. Mark Melancon surrendered the other score, giving up a ground ball single sandwiched around a pair of walks with no outs, but gladly gave up the tally in exchange for a Joey Votto DP ball. The Pirates staff only yielded three hits to Cincinnati, but seven walks gave the Reds plenty of baserunners. The Buccos scored on a Garrett Jones solo homer and RBI knocks by Jordy Mercer and Jose Tabata.

Bucs Bring the Boomers to Queen City, Bomb Their Way to 12-1 Win

Well, good start. It's supposed to rain all three days here, and tonight's game started with an unspecified delay. The Reds announced at 7:30 that they'd have another announcement at 8:30 regarding the game; meanwhile, the post-game fireworks were moved to pre-game and lit the skies at 8:15. It wasn't necessarily a white flag; Cincy has a noise ordinance that would forbid the show after midnight, so it may just be an omen of a long night ahead. On the other hand, it was still raining through the show, sooo... The Reds are a stubborn bunch and scheduled the start for 9:55, sheesh. The humanity...then they started it 10 minutes late on top of that.

Fireworks in the rain (photo Greg Brown)
The Pirates went down 1-2-3 to Tyler Mahle in a steady drizzle; ditto for the Reds against Jameson Taillon, who was saved by El Coffee making a leaping grab at the wall to bring back Scooter Gennett's long ball bid. The Bucs got back-to-back singles from Eli and Red Beard in the second. After a J-Bell whiff, a wild pitch moved the runners up, but S-Rod's shot up the line froze them; it was scorched, but Eugenio Suarez made a diving stop to save two runs. Jordy was given a free pass before JT grounded out to end the fun. Cincy opened with consecutive knocks, and a soft roller moved them up a sack. A pair of easy comebackers kept it at zero. The Pirates stranded Starling after a third-inning double; the Reds got two one-out knocks (one was on an infield ball when nobody bothered covering first) but couldn't move them around. After a Red Beard rap and J-Bell walk in the fourth, S-Rod's knock brought home the game's first run. Jamo helped himself with a squeeze to plate Bell, making it 2-0.

After a single off S-Rod's mitt, Jamo took things into his own hands and struck out the side. Both sides went quietly in the fifth. Red Beard started the sixth with a knock and J-Bell followed with a walk. After a mound chat, Mahle spun a first-pitch slider down Broadway and S-Rod sent it into the second deck. Two outs later, Corey D dumped a 3-2 slider over the fence on Mahle's 111th pitch, bringing on David Hernandez to close out the frame. Jamo opened with a walk and a whiff, using up 15 pitches. A double brought in a run and ended JT's night at 99 tosses as he handed the ball to Ric Rod. Still, nice job - Taillon gave up a run on six hits with six punchouts, and Rodriguez left his inherited runner anchored. Austin Brice got the ball in the seventh and was welcomed by a Gregory three-bagger (not very well played by Billy Hamilton) that was cashed in on Eli's single. Michael Feliz toed the rubber and got two strikeouts and a pop.

Short but sweet outing by Jamo  (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Jackson Stephens got the eighth inning phone call, and the unstoppable S-Rod said "hi" with a single, followed by a Jordy rap. An out later, Corey D lined a shoe-top curve into right to fill the sacks. They were unloaded when Starling spanked a fastball into the stands for a grand salami. The Pirates stranded a couple of following singles. Steven Brault climbed the slope. After a whiff, he was tapped for back-to-back knocks, remedied by a 4-6-3 DP. Michael Lorenzen worked the ninth and opened with consecutive walks. J-Low is having a tough day; after K'ing in his first at bat, he banged into a DP. It hurt the Reds too; 2B Alex Blandino was taken out hard by Mad Max at the bag, and the trainers helped him limp off the field. His sub, C Curt Casali, booted Corey D's roller and another run crossed the dish. Brault fanned the first batter, then gave up a double. But no damage done; RTJR.

Long day, but worth missing some shuteye over. Everything went right; let's hope Maxie's slide doesn't develop into another Bucs-Reds beanball battle tomorrow; it's promising that the Bucco following that play didn't wear a pitch.


Big day for S-Rod (photo USA Today Sports)
Notes:

  • This was S-Rod's first multi-hit day since May 17th and his fourth of the campaign. It was his first three-hit game since August, 2016. But he couldn't keep up with Red Beard, who had four hits, and was equalled by Eli, who added three knocks. Corey D and Starling also had a couple of knocks. Marte, Rodriguez and Dickerson homered.
  • Colin Moran had a streak of five straight hits before he lined out to right in the seventh. Ironically, it was probably his hardest hit ball of the night. And he followed that out with another rap.
  • OF Brian Reynolds and 1B Will Craig hit back-to-back homers for Altoona; they each lost a pair of baseballs in a 10-8 win. The Curve dropped the second game 7-4.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Games Resume; Bucs at GABP to Meet the Reds, Jamo v Mahle & Notes - S-Rod Back & Starting

Sorry we're late. Even with the All-Star break, the Pirates had to huddle while they figured out if J-Hay was ready and what to do upon S-Rod's return. An hour before the game and they were still working on who's suiting up...that's Buccin' for ya.

Today: The game from GABP starts at 7:10 and will be on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. Let's hope the break didn't cool the Buccos off. BTW, there is a tornado watch for Cincinnati in effect until 9 PM and a flash flood warning until midnight with a bout of strong thunderstorms, so we'll see how that all ends up.

Pitchers: RHP Jameson Taillon (6-7, 3.91) starts the second half against RHP Tyler Mahle (7-7, 4.02). Since June 1st, Jamo has gone 4-3/3.17 in eight starts and looks for a big dog days run. He's been hot-and-cold against Cincy; he topped Mahle with a one-hit shutout in April at PNC Park, but gave up six runs in six innings in May at GABP. Mahle, 23, has been a hit/strikeout per inning guy, and a little on the high side in giving up homers and walks. He's been tossing the ball well since June, going 4-1/3.00 in eight starts over that span although in his last start, the Indians spanked him, chasing Mahle in the third. His only start this year against the Bucs wasn't very hot - he gave up five runs on nine hits in 4-2/3 IP in his loss to Jamo.

Jamo takes the bump tonight (image Positively Pittsburgh)

Lineup: Corey Dickerson LF, Starling Marte CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Elias Diaz C, Colin Moran 3B, J-Bell 1B, S-Rod 2B, Jordy SS & Taillon P. Josh did some pre-game running; guess the hammy wasn't feelin' it quite yet. Clint curled up into his comfort zone and pencilled in S-Rod to take his place. Otherwise, same ol'.

Notes:
  • S-Rod was activated from the DL and Tanner Anderson was optioned back to Indy. 
  • Starling has a 12-game hitting streak on the line tonight; his career longest was a 13-gamer in 2014. July has been a good month for Marte, who is hitting .380, and also for Corey D, who is hacking away at a .354 clip.
  • The Pirates have won six in a row and eight-of-nine. The Reds haven't been slouches either, winning four-of-six and 18-of-26 since mid-June.
  • J-Hay hopes to be back in the lineup sometime during this series after tweaking his hammy against the Brew Crew.
  • Adam Berry of MLB.com takes a look at what the Bucs and the rest of the division are looking for before the trading deadline.
  • Last night, Kevin Kramer became the first Indy batter since Josh Harrison (2011) to bang out five hits in game.
  • The Cubs sent Texas a minor leaguer for RHP Jesse Chavez, 34. He left Pittsburgh in 2009 for Aki Iwamura and began a tour of the league; the Cubs will be his ninth team.
  • Former Pirates pitcher and current free agent Antonio Bastardo has been suspended 140 games after testing positive for Stanozolol. It was his second PED bust.

7/20 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Clubbin'; Off the Bench Bang; Game Stories; HBD John, Heinie & Harry

  • 1880 - RF Harry Cassady was born in Bellflower, Illinois. Out of Illinois Wesleyan, he got into 22 games in the show; 12 of them were with the 1904 Pirates, hitting .205 in 44 at bats. Cassady went on to spend three years in the American Association (1905-07) and then six seasons with Denver of the Western Association (he was a much better hitter in the high minors), retiring after the 1912 campaign at age 31. 
  • 1894 - Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 7-6 in 10 innings when George "Germany" Smith‚ homered with two outs. Pirate OF Elmer Smith was prevented from retrieving the game-winning hit in the field-level LF bleachers‚ as permitted per Cincinnati’s League Park ground rules‚ by zealous Reds fans. One of them allegedly pulled a revolver on Smith after he wrestled with several other rooters in an attempt to reach the ball, per Charlton’s Baseball Chronology. The Pittsburgh Press wrote diplomatically that Germany "drove one into the seats." Quite a finish to the NL’s first extra-inning game of the year. 
Heinie Manush 1940 Play Ball
  • 1901 - Hall of Fame LF Heinie Manush was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Manush spent the last two years of his career (1938-39) in Pittsburgh as a pinch hitter, getting just 28 PA (four hits, three walks) before being released, ironically enough for another future HoF’er, Chuck Klein. He was a .330 hitter during his 17 year career with 1183 RBI and 1287 runs scored. 
  • 1905 - Club baseball was serious biz (especially for the men in blue) back in the day, like the big rivalry game between the local nines of the Western Union and the Postal Telegraph Co, played at Bedford Park in the Hill District. The Pittsburgh Press description: “The rival managers had bowed gravely to each other as befitted the leaders on baseball gladiators. The umpire had made his will and left it with his wife...it was time to play. There was some terrible slugging (and) thus the battle went on until the 11th inning…” Then a couple of spectators got into a brawl, the ballplayers intervened, and a riot ensued as bricks flew (“The women screamed and fled”) until police calmed things down. The game was called a draw, and the Press reported that “...the umpire has sent word to the managers of the two clubs that if there is another game to be played, he wants time to take out an accident insurance policy and get it mentioned in his will.” 
  • 1946 - RHP John Lamb was born in Sharon, Connecticut. John came from a Northeast prep powerhouse, Housatonic Valley HS, which produced several players including the Pirates Steve Blass (John was his brother-in-law) and Tom Parsons; Pittsburgh had a bit of an edge as their coach, Ed Kirby, was also a part-time Buc scout. He was signed out of high school in 1964 and debuted in 1970, working parts of three seasons (1970-71, 1973) with a slash of 0-2-5/4.07 and was part of the Bucs triple entree of Moose, Veale and Lamb. It’s hard to tell where his career may have gone if he hadn’t suffered a brutal camp accident - in 1971, he fractured his skull when a Dave Cash liner found him during spring training. 
John Lamb photo Pirates promo
  • 1950 - The Philadelphia Phillies banged out a double, triple, and three homers on their way to eight runs; the Bucs answered with six two-baggers and a long ball of their own to outlast the Brotherly Love gang by a 10-8 score at Forbes Field. Six Pirates had multi-hit games, with three collecting a trio of knocks (Ted Beard, Gus Bell and Danny O’Connell) while Ralph Kiner went long and doubled with Stan Rojek and Johnny Hopp joining the two-hit parade. Murry Dickson, who followed Cliff Chambers and Vern Law, tossed the final 2-⅔ frames scorelessly to get the win while the Phils used five hurlers, with the Buccos scoring off four of them. 
  • 1955 - The bench to the rescue: the Bucs were down 3-0 in the seventh when pinch hitter Preston Ward smacked a three-run dinger off the Milwaukee Brave’s Ray Crone at Forbes Field. Another PH, Jack Shepard, singled off Dave Jolly with the bases loaded in the ninth to earn the Pirates and Dick Littlefield a 4-3 comeback win. 
  • 1961 - Joe Gibbon tossed a four-hitter with nine whiffs as the Bucs beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 at Forbes Field. The big blow was Bill Mazeroski’s two-run single in the fourth. The Bucs had lost three games prior to the win, and would drop six more afterward.

7/20 TRS-PNC Park Era: Hyzdu's Big Day; Rennie Hot; Williams Era Ends; Stargell Stamp; Game Stories

  • 1973 - The Bucs tied the first game of a twinbill against San Diego in the eighth and went on to win 5-4 in 10 innings at TRS. Rennie Stennett went 4-for-5 with a walk-off homer in the extra frame. The Pirates had an easier time with the Padres in the second game, winning 7-0. Stennett had three more hits, including another homer, and Jim Rooker tossed a six-hit complete game whitewash with eight whiffs. 
Rennie Stennett 1973 Topps
  • 1980 - After scoring four times in the first, the Pirates had to plate a pair in the bottom of the ninth to salvage an 8-7 split against the Dodgers at TRS. Lee Lacy was 5-for-5 and a homer away from the cycle, while Bill Robinson homered and Ed Ott had the walk-off, bases loaded single to earn Grant Jackson the win. Pittsburgh lost the opener 4-2 as LA’s Burt Hooton and Steve Howe kept the Bucco bats under control. The double dipper was a big to-do in other ways, too. It was Willie Stargell Day with a ceremony between games, and was also the day that Dave Parker, fresh off the first $1 M/year contract in sports, was pelted with a Duracell battery while in the outfield. 
  • 1996 - In the opening game at the Olympics in Atlanta, the US team topped Nicaragua 4-1 behind future Pirate pitcher Kris Benson’s seven hitter. Benson was 2-1 during the games as the US finished by winning the bronze medal. 
  • 2002 - OF Adam Hyzdu had a day to tell his grandkids about at PNC Park. He drove in seven runs on four hits‚ including a pair of HR, in a 15-6 pasting of the first-place St. Louis Cards. Hyzdu became the first Buc since Don Slaught nine years earlier with seven RBI, and the crowd of 35,101 called him out of the dugout after his second blast. The performance came on top of a four-RBI game the day before. It was the Pirates eighth win in ten games, attracting a walkup sale of 7,650, and Kris Benson’s third straight victory. 
Mike Williams 2003 Topps Heritage
  • 2003 - The Mike Williams era ended in Pittsburgh when he was sent to the Phils for LHP Frank Brooks, who had a cup of coffee in the show. Williams, a righty closer, went from setting the Pirate saves record in 2002 with 46 closeouts and back-to-back All Star appearances to a guy with 25 saves but a 6.27 ERA in 2003, which was his last MLB season. Williams saved 140 games in six seasons for Pittsburgh. 
  • 2009 - The Bucs finally broke a 17-game losing streak to the Brewers with an 8-5 victory at PNC Park. Cutch had three hits and Delwyn Young tacked on three RBI with a homer. Jesse Chavez had the fans on the edge of their seats by giving up three runs in the ninth, but struck out Prince Fielder to ice the win. 
  • 2010 - The Pirates scored nine runs in the first inning during their 11-9 victory over the Brewers at PNC Park. The scoring in the opening frame was highlighted by Pedro Alvarez’s first career grand slam, one of two Alvarez long balls smacked during the game. El Toro finished with five RBI and Neil Walker went 5-for-5 with a double against Milwaukee. They needed the quick start as the Brewers cut the lead to 10-9 by the sixth, but were blanked on two hits in the final three frames by Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan and Octavio Dotel. 
  • 2012 - The US Postal Service issued a set of four commemorative stamps depicting Willie Stargell along with Ted Williams, Larry Doby and Joe DiMaggio. The release was held in Cooperstown as part of the Hall's annual induction week-end. 
  • 2017 - The Pirates rallied to take a 4-2 win from the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park and sweep the four-game visit. For the Bucs, it was their 11th win in 13 games and 6-of-7 during a two-set homestand, pulling the club to .500 for the first time since mid-April and three games behind the front-running Brew Crew. Pittsburgh was adept at playing nine innings; all six of their victories on the Allegheny were after the foe had drawn first blood with three being walk-off wins. Jameson Taillon got the victory. Gregory Polanco homered while Chris Stewart went 3-for-3 (and threw out a wanna-be base stealer) to lead the attack.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

7/19 Through the 1900’s: Hans Debut; Shade Day; Giant Battles; HBD Earl, Bill, Jim, Jasper, Jeff & Clint

  • 1865 - RHP Bill Hart was born in Louisville. He played for Pittsburgh in 1895 and again in 1898, going 19-26/4.77. He also played some OF during his eight-year career, but was strictly a hurler for the Bucs. Bill hit .237, marking him as journeyman both on the rubber and at the dish. Hart was twice traded by the Pirates and landed a pair of very good players, IF Bones Ely in 1896 and then OF Ginger Beaumont after the ‘98 campaign, making him the tap root of a solid trade tree. 
Bill Hart in post-Pirates days 1909-11 Sweet Caporal
  • 1865 - 3B Jim Donnelly was born in New Haven, Connecticut. The son of immigrants, Jim played pro ball at some level from the time he was 18 in 1884 until 1902 when he was 36. He spent parts of 11 seasons in the show, split into two eras: 1884-91, when he was a regular for a while, and then after a run in the minors, he returned as purely a bench guy from 1896-98. Jim spent part of that second stay with the Pirates in 1897, hitting just .193 before being shipped to the NY Giants in mid-season. He arrived in town with Steve Brodie from Baltimore as the O’s return for the Jake Stenzel trade. Neither Donnelly and Brodie made it to 1898 with the Bucs while Stenzel played on for three more seasons, batting .309 over that span. 
  • 1873 - OF/1B Harry “Jasper” Davis was born in Philadelphia. Jasper played early in his 22 year MLB stint for the Bucs, from 1896-98, and hit .278. His long career, mainly with his hometown Philadelphia A’s, had one break - in 1900, he quit baseball after five years to take a RR job. Apparently the call of the rails faded quickly; he returned to baseball a year later and played for 17 more years. Fun fact: Jasper had a four year string of leading MLB in long balls from 1904-07, yet hit just 75 homers between 1895-1917. He never had more than 12 in a single season, and in fact finished with double-figure dingers only twice. His nickname dates back to his Girard College days, given to him by his schoolmates for reasons unknown. 
  • 1887 - Honus Wagner made his NL debut with the Louisville Colonels, owned by Barney Dreyfuss. He got a hit and stole a base in a 12-2 win over the Brooklyn Grays. In 1900, Dreyfuss bought the Pittsburgh franchise and maneuvered most of the Louisville club onto the roster, including the Flying Dutchman. 
A very young Hans Ars Longa Art Card
  • 1888 - C Ed “Jeff” Sweeney was born in Chicago. The defensive specialist spent eight years with the NY Highlanders/Yankees, two more in the minors, time in the Navy during WW1 and then finished his nine-year MLB run with the Pirates in 1919, getting into 17 games and hitting .095 before being sent to the PCL. He spent one more year in pro ball before doffing the tools of ignorance. 
  • 1889 - RHP Francis Clinton “Clint” Rogge was born in Memphis, Michigan.The long-time minor league twirler (he beat the bushes from 1909-23) got his first big league (albeit in the Federal League) taste during the 1915 campaign when he was part of the Pittsburgh Rebels’ rotation. He held up fairly well against FL batters, slashing 17-11/2.55 with 31 starts and 254-1/3 IP. After that year, he started a long run with the Indianapolis Indians of the minor-league American Association, getting one brief return to the show in 1921 with the Reds. 
  • 1891 - LHP Earl Hamilton was born in Gibson, Illinois. The little southpaw spent six of his 14 big league seasons (1918-23) as a Pirate, putting up a line of 55-55/3.35. He won 115 MLB games overall, tossing for four clubs. Earl had a couple moments in the sun - he spun a no-hitter for the St. Louis Browns in 1912 and went 16 scoreless frames for the Bucs in a 1920 start only to run out of gas and lose in the 17th. 
  • 1893 - From Charlton’s Baseball Chronology: “Pittsburgh used 19 hits –all singles– to win in Cleveland 10-6. Pittsburgh was further aided by the defense of LF Elmer Smith, whose use of green glasses to fend off the sun greatly helped him in his fielding.” It was a noteworthy win in that the game may be the first time that an outfielder donned shades. 
Elmer "Mike"Smith was cool in the 1800s (photo via Uniondale Cemetery)
  • 1904 - The Pirates rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth off Giants ace Christy Mathewson to take a 2-1 victory at the Polo Grounds. Shut out on five hits going into the final frame, Honus Wagner tripled to left, and an out later Jimmy Sebring banged out another three-bagger, rapping a shot off the first base bag that rolled into the corner. Pinch hitter Claude Ritchey followed with a RBI knock, and Mike Lynch made it stand up in the bottom half, tossing a complete game four hitter against NY. After the game, manager John “Mugsy” McGraw and Mathewson got into a jawing match with the crowd, a verbal (and profane) sparring session that lasted until they got back to their hotel. The Pittsburgh Press had a couple of juicy lines regarding the affair: “McGraw is not liked here...Some day he will carry things too far, and some husky Pittsburger will thump him” and then threw some shade at Christy: “ Matty... has to buy a cap a size larger after every victory…” 
  • 1905 - Pittsburgh pulled to within five games of New York by overcoming a 5-2 deficit at the Polo Grounds to rally past the Giants, 8-5. It was Pittsburgh’s third straight win against the defending champions. Umpire Bill Klem was the target of a barrage of tossed garbage from the New York fans after ejecting Dan McGann and “Turkey Mike” Donlin from the game. They yapped their way into Klem’s bad graces as the Pittsburgh Press game story explained: “Umpire baiting was plentiful, with Taylor (the pitcher), McGann and Donlin the chief offenders of this style of play.” Sam Leever got the win, coming in as a second-inning reliever, while the offense was led by Otis Clymer’s three hits. The Bucs pounded out 15 knocks; five Pirates had multi-hit outings.