Friday, April 29, 2016

Juan-derful; Nicasio & Two-Out Lightning Carry Bucs To 4-1 Win

Good start for Juan Nicasio; two quick whiffs and a steady inning marred only by a Joey Votto two-out single. Dan Straily had an easy frame, too. The Reds opened the second with a double; Juan whiffed the next three. Pittsburgh started with a knock and walk, but Gregory chased an ankle high change and banged into a 4-6-3 DP. Josh went after a couple of sliders well off the dish, and then missed a change to end it.

Juan Nicasio - bullpen, hah! (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Juan added another K in the third. Jordy singled, was bunted up and JJ walked after starting in an 0-2 hole. Cutch fanned, but a soft lob into right by the Freeser made it 1-0. Eugenio Suarez saved Straily's bacon, taking away a hit from Starling with a diving grab to stop the music. Votto walked to start the fourth, but no damage; Josh made a sweet layout and flip to stop things from escalating. Fran took a stroll to begin the Buc half; he was doubled off first on a Gregory liner to first. Josh took away some sting when he dropped a 3-1 heater over the Clemente Wall to make it 2-0.

An infield squibbler put the Scott Schebler aboard in the fifth and he was bunted to second. No prob; Juan didn't allow a ball out of the infield; ditto for Straily. Nicasio picked up a couple of more whiffs in the sixth; his velo is still strong and he's at just 81 pitches. Starling doubled with an out, but with two gone was caught trying to steal third; not a real heads-up play with Gregory up. 1-2-3 in the seventh for Juan; he gave up three hits with a walk and eight K on 97 pitches in that span, and his velocity sat at 94-95 most of the game. Guess that'll calm down the talk about moving back into the pen.

JJ Hoover took over for the Reds. Straily did a commendable job against a team that's been strokin', mixing up pitches, speeds and locations nicely. Not so for Hoover; Jordy singled with two outs (and one of those was spanked) and Matt Joyce took a fastball deep the other way (actually, it barely cleared the wall just inside the foul pole, traveling 334', but hey...) to give the bullpen a four run cushion.

Matt Joyce says bye-bye (photo via Pittsburgh Pirates)

Hold your breath; here come the relievers: Tony Watson gave up a leadoff double. It took him 10 pitches but he fanned Billy Hamilton, and then polished the eighth off routinely after that. JC Ramirez took the hill and put up a zero. Arquimedes Caminero came in, and Votto greeted him with single. He served up triple digit heat to get the next two guys, then Tucker Barhart turned a 102 MPH heater into an RBI double, a ball that Cutch misread - it went off his glove - or it would have been game over. So in came The Shark.

Pity to waste him here, but Arquie was his own worst enemy, falling behind all four hitters 2-0 and taking his slider/splitter out of play. It took MM two pitches to get a pop, and the Bucs start the homestand off with a 4-1 victory.

Nicasio was tough, and all four Pirate runs came after two were out, three on long flies, so today's win was due to strong pitching and clutch homers, a departure from the usual shootout. We'll take it.

  • Jordy Mercer has reached base safely in 11 straight games. He and Starling paced the attack with two hits apiece.
  • Josh has an eight game hitting streak, and broke a stretch of 379 at-bats without a homer.
  • Tony Watson appeared for the 344th time, the fourth most appearances by a Pirates lefty. He's behind Wilbur Cooper (469), John Grabow (390) and The Candy Man (345). 
  • 29,938 came out for the game; not only did they get a Fran tee shirt and a win, but a rare sub-three hour contest. It lasted 2:41.
  • Neftali Feliz has a maintenance day off tonite. He worked three of the last four coast trip games and tossed 76 pitches, so his arm could use a little extra ice time.
  • Jared Hughes was at PNC Park; he could be activated as soon as tomorrow.

Friday: Juan Nicasio v Dan Straily; Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Reds come to town for a 7:05 series opener. The game will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. If you like tee shirts, this is "That's Amore" Fran shirt giveaway night. Unfortunately, its supposed to be a dreary weekend weather-wise, so let's hope the Bucs are mudders.

Starling is back and the A-Team lineup is intact tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pitchers: Juan Nicasio  (2-2, 4.50) kicks it off against Dan Straily (0-0, 3.50). Nicasio has been a wild child as a starter, although he did show a third pitch, his change, a bit last outing, so that may help generate an extra strike or two. He needs those strikes, too - 11 walks in 20 IP have been running up his pitch count and ERA. Straily has had a kind of whirlwind relationship with the Reds. He was claimed from San Diego, carried as a long man after a career as a starter, and then tossed back into the rotation to replace Tim Melville. This will be his third start; he's had one good and one bad turn in that role so far. He's been workmanlike against the Bucs, seeing them four times with a 1-0/3.55 mark.

Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy SS, Nicasio P. Nobody down for maintenance today; it's the regular lineup.

  • The Pirates have won four in a row for the second time this month. It won't be that easy to extend, tho; the Reds took two-of-three earlier in the month at  GABP and won 11-of-19 last year.
  • The Pirates today announced the extensions of the entire coaching staff through 2017, so Uncle Ray and the gang will be back next season.
  • Baseball news: Marlin 2B Dee Gordon flunked his PED test and was suspended for 80 games.

4/29: Greenlee Opens, Sunday Ball, HBD Vander Wal, Wilson No-No, Big Bats

  • 1930 - Rollie Hemsley, George Grantham and Charlie Engle combined for 11 hits and 12 RBI to lead the Pirates to a 13-9 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Bucs rallied from a 7-1 deficit with a seven run sixth inning and never looked back. Ralph Erickson got the win (his only MLB victory) in relief of Ray Kremer, with the save going to Steve Swetonic.
  • 1932 - Greenlee Field in the Hill, home of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, opened in front of 4,000 fans. Hall of Famers Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson were the battery as the Pittsburgh Crawfords lost the opener to the New York Black Yankees 1-0 in a pitching duel with Jesse "Mountain" Hubbard. Paige struck out 10 and allowed six hits, but Hubbard bettered that line, surrendering just three knocks. The Allegheny County commissioners, Pittsburgh's mayor and the city councilmen caught the opener from the field boxes. It was the first ballfield built specifically for a black team, erected by team owner Gus Greenlee. When finished, the grounds would seat 7,500, with lights added in 1933. It was demolished in 1939 to clear space for the Bedford Dwellings.
Greenlee Field (image via Pittsburgh Sports Forum)
  • 1934 - Red Lucas won Pittsburgh’s first Sunday home game as the Pirates beat Cincinnati 9-5 at Forbes Field, backed by Gus Suhr’s three hits and four RBI. Both Suhr and Paul Waner, who also had three knocks, homered. Because of Pennsylvania’s Blue Laws, Pittsburgh was the last major league city to play a home game on a Sunday.
  • 1966 - OF/1B John Vander Wal was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He played for the Bucs in 200-01, and in 232 games hit .290 with 35 HR and 144 RBI. The Pirates traded him at the 2001 deadline with Jason Schmidt to the Giants for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios in one of GM Dave Littlefield’s early deals after replacing Cam Bonifay in mid-July.
  • 1990 - The Bucs swept San Diego 10-1 behind a four homer barrage at Jack Murphy Stadium. Barry Bonds and Jay Bell hit three-run bombs, Bobby Bonilla banged a two-run blast and Don Slaught added a solo shot to grease an easy outing for Doug Drabek. It was the Pirates sixth consecutive win.
Justin was called up in late August after his no-no - 2013 Topps Chrome
  • 2012 - Pitching for the AAA Indianapolis Indians against the Durham Bulls, Justin Wilson tossed the first 7-1/3 innings of a combined no-hitter (2 walks, 9 K, 107 pitches), completed by Jose “Jumbo” Diaz and Doug Slaten. He worked his first Bucco game on August 20th.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pirates Come Home to Face Reds, Cubs, Then Big Road Trip

Well, they'll have to shoehorn in a make-up game in Colorado (they have two left coast trips left, in late June and mid August; both June 30th and August 18th are mutual off days) but the combination of winter mix falling from the gray skies and cold was right on time for the battered Bucs. Oh, the position players love the short bench, as everyone is involved and getting innings, but even with a crowded bullpen, the relief corps needs some down time (starters too, for that matter).

The pen has covered 41-1/3 IP during the nine game road trip. The relievers are picking up four innings per game, with an extra six thrown in thanks to extra innings, which came about because the pen couldn't hold late leads. It's also a given that Chase and Coors Fields make pitching a challenge. Still, the pitching at both ends has been pretty much a train wreck, so a day off and a return to the hurler-friendly confines of PNC are just what the doctor ordered. The relievers get to lick their wounds and the rotation all get an extra day's rest, as Clint opted to push everyone back rather than skip a turn.

Yes, a day off! (photo Dave Zulabowski/Associated Press)

Pretty big, if short, six-day homestand. The Pirates are coming off a nice 6-3 coast trip, but the Reds have proved to be a royal pain in the Bucco butt, and then the Cubs roll into town for the season's first head-to-head meeting. The first part of May is a bear; after the Cub set, it's off to St. Louis, Cincy and Chicago. The second part should be a chance to rack up some wins with a 10 game stretch at home against Atlanta, Arizona and Colorado before a fairly brutal June schedule.

So far, so good; the Bucs are three off the pace at 13-9, and the dink-and-double attack backed by a strong bench has worked like a charm. Now only if the pitching comes around. To cherry pick a couple of stats, this year's HR/game is 1.43 (0.66 in '15) while walks per game are 4.51 (2.74 in '15), and the resulting SIERA for 2016 is 4.31; it was 3.56 last year. A couple more strikes and keeping it in the yard look like the key to a turnaround.

  • Slated matchups v the Reds: Friday - Dan Straily vs Juan Nicasio,  Saturday - Alfredo Simon vs Frankie Liriano, and Sunday - Raisel Iglesias vs Jeff Locke. Gerrit Cole, Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio are in line for following the Cub series.
  • More good news from Indy: Jameson Taillon went seven innings today, giving up a run on five hits with two walks and seven K, using just 89 pitches.

Thursday: Juan Nicasio v Tyler Chatwood, Lineup, Notes SNOWED OUT

Today: The getaway game begins at 3:10, ending the Colorado series and a 10 game road trip to the left coast. The game will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. Great day for a ball game - the tarp is down to protect the field from light snowfall. Ehhh, maybe more than light  - the game was postponed at 1:30; it was 37 degrees out..

Pitchers: Juan Nicasio (2-2, 4.50) meets Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 3.47). Nicasio has been wildly inconsistent with control issues, although he did use a third pitch, his change, a bit last outing, so that may help generate a swing and miss or two. Juan, who was with the Rockies from 2011-14, is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six appearances against Colorado. He should be comfortable - he's made 48 appearances (37 starts) at Coors, all but one as a Rockie. Chatwood's returning to the mound after dual TJ surgeries in 2014. The 26 year old has been up-and-down, but has a couple of strong starts under his belt this year.

Juan looking for consistency (photo Butch Dill/YSA Today)

Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Matt Joyce LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Gregory Polanco RF, Jordy SS, Stew C, Nacaio P. Fran should enjoy the day off; not only is it a day after night game, but he's been taking a beating behind the dish. Starling is also off; a maintenance day before heading back home.

  • The Pirates have won eight straight at Coors Field, matching the Angels for the longest streak at the park.
  • Steven Brault tossed six scoreless frames for Indy, giving up four hits and fanning 11 during a game the Indians lost in extra innings. He's also having a strong year, with a 1-1/1.83 slash and 25 K in 19-2/3 IP.

4/28: HBD, Red & Snake, Buckshot's 1st Homer; Chippin' Away, Streak Stopper, X-Tras

  • 1902 - The Nashville Narcissus, Red Lucas (he lived in Nashville and a sportswriter gave him the nickname), was born in Tennessee. The righty spent the last five years of his career (1934-38) with Pittsburgh after coming over in a deal with the Reds. He put up a 47-32/3.73 line for the Bucs. Lucas was also a good stickman; he pinch hit in more games as a Pirate than he pitched, though his .238 BA was well below the .300 average he carried with Cincy. Oh, and he remembered well the team that traded him - he was 14-0 against the Reds during his Pirate era.
Red Lucas 1934 Diamond Stars
  • 1924 - Bucco rookie SS Glenn Wright hit his first homer off Vic Keen in a 7-4 victory over the Cubs. Wright was better known for his mitt than his thunder; he set a MLB record during the season with 601 assists, a record that lasted until 1980, when Ozzie Smith had 621 Astroturf assists. “Buckshot” was the Pirate SS until 1928 when he was traded to Brooklyn Robins, and hit .298 over that span.
  • 1930 - RHP Tom Sturdivant was born in Gordon, Kansas. Nicknamed “Snake” because of his nasty curve, he was an outstanding pitcher for the Yankees until he suffered a rotator cuff injury in 1958 that threw up a speed bump on his promising career: after posting 16 wins in 1957, he never again reached double-figures in season victories. He persevered as a seven-team journeyman, not leaving baseball until after the 1964 season. Snake hurled for the Bucs from 1961-63 with a 14-7-3/3.49 slash.
  • 1966 - The Pirates scored one run in each of the final five innings of regulation and added four more in tenth to outlast the Cubs at Wrigley Field 9-6. The tying run scored with two out in the ninth. Roberto Clemente fell behind Ted Abernathy 0-2, worked the count full and drew a walk after fouling off eight straight pitches. He then came around on Willie Stargell’s double. The Bucco tenth was highlighted by a delayed double steal, with Clemente swiping second and Manny Mota home.
Manny Mota 1966 Topps
  • 1970 - The Bucs 6-1 victory at Forbes Field ended Chicago’s 11 game winning streak. Luke Walker, Bruce Dal Canton and Dave Giusti combined for a three hitter while Manny Sanguillen hit a pair of homers and had 3 RBI. Gene Alley, known more for his leather than wood, went 3-for-4.
  • 2010 - The Pirates defeated the Brewers for the second straight game to take the series at Miller Field with a 6-5, 14 inning victory. The Bucs tied the game in the ninth on a Ryan Doumit homer and went ahead in the 10th on a Cutch long ball, but the Brew Crew came back to tie it off Octavio Dotel, who left the bases full of Brewers before escaping the frame. Garrett Jones doubled home Akinori Iwamura with two down in the 14th while DJ Carrasco worked three innings of scoreless, one hit relief for the win.

Bucs Blow 7-0 Lead, But Grind It Out In 12 Innings 9-8

Jon Gray and Jon Niese both put up a zero, stranding first inning doubles. Fran and Josh singled to put runners on the corners; a Jordy force out brought home a run. The play was challenged after a fairly innocuous slide by Josh at second, tho he did come off the bag, but the play was upheld after a long review. The Rox had a lead off knock erased on a DP, and it stayed 1-0 after two frames.

JJ and Cutch opened the third with knocks. David Freese had a nice at bat, running the count full on eight pitches and rolling the ninth into left to plate a run. Fran walked with one away to load 'em up. El Coffee's sac fly brought in a tally; Josh's bloop single another. Niese spun a 1-2-3 frame.

Jon started the fourth with a knock and came in on Freeser's two-out double. That brought on Eddie Butler; Gray tossed 96 not so effective pitches and left down 5-0. Starling beat out a ball to third (he was originally rung up, but the call was rightfully overturned on review) and Fran doubled in two more before it was done. Just as suddenly, Colorado sprang to life. Two homers, double, triple, walk, and a single brought the tying run to the plate with an out. Niese finished up, stranding runners at second and third with a 7-4 lead.

Pittsburgh went quietly in the fifth, and so did the Rox. Butler had another easy inning, helped by a great play by an unlikely source as Mark Reynolds speared Cutch's rocket. The Rockies opened with three straight ground ball singles, and that was it as Ryan Vogelsong was waved in. Niese went five, giving up runs on 10 hits with two walks and five whiffs on 85 pitches. Mercer helped the cause when he snagged a deflected grounder and got a force at third, and then V-Song shut the door with the count 7-5 Buccos.

V-Song cleaned up a mess (photo Tiffany Tompkins/Bradenton Herald)

Justin Miller took the ball in the seventh, and Gregory stopped the bleeding a bit when he crushed a two out solo shot to dead center. Neftali Feliz came in, we thought he'd be on ice today with his pitch count and results of late. It showed: a double (Polanco's bad; he misplayed it) and  Mark Reynold's homer cut the lead to one. Tony Watson answered the phone and closed the frame with the score 8-7 good guys. Chad Qualls had a calm eighth. Tony didn't fare so well; he left a sinker dead center to Geraldo Parra and he planted it in the seats, a new ballgame as we head into the ninth.

Jake McGee climbed the hill, and had the luck of the Irish. Cutch hit a 400' foul before walking and Freese's liner to center was outrun by Parra. Starling singled, but Fran up 3-1, swung at ball four, then bounced into a DP. The Bucs sent out Kyle Lobstein. After a pair of whiffs, he gave up a pair of singles before getting the third out.

Boone Logan took the ball in the 10th, and Matt Joyce smacked a one-out double lefty-on-lefty; he had come in on a double swap to replace Starling. Jordy walked, but the Bucs couldn't take advantage. The Lobster got his three outs without any drama. Carlos Estevez tossed a clean 11th; Lobstein faced three batters thanks to a DP. Praise the Lord; in the 12th, Gregory's walk turned into a run on Jordy's two out double. The Shark came on. With an out, DJ LeMahieu walked after an 11 pitch battle, then stole second. The next hitter walked on a full count, and a grounder moved them up a station. But Melancon had the three pitch K up his sleeve and played it to end a long night with a Bucco win.

The Lobster turned the tide tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

The Lobster deserves props all around; he was the only Pirate pitcher (beside V-Song) that actually deserved to earn the win. And give MM credit too; that closer mentality kicked in at the right time. Pittsburgh keeps on churning out runs; now if the pen would start churning out some goose eggs.

  • Another amazing break from the gates: by the fourth inning, every Pirate had scored or driven in a run, including the pitcher. 
  • Gregory Polanco continues to mature at the plate - he homered, hit a sac fly, scored twice and chased home a pair.  
  • Josh now has a seven game hitting streak.
  • Four in a row is the Pirates longest win streak of the year.
  • Tony Watson has surrendered three homer in 10-1/3 innings, which equals the total he gave up in 75-1/3 IP last season.
  • Jared Hughes gave up three runs on five hits in two innings; looks like his quick recall may have hit a speed bump.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday: Jon Niese v Jon Gray, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The first pitch is at 8:40, and the game will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Pitchers: Jon Niese (3-0, 4.24) toes the rubber v Jon Gray (0-0, 9.00). Niese has only failed to get into the sixth once this year, but except for a strong outing against the Brewers has been kinda meh, although in justice a couple of those games featured some ugly fielding behind him. He's 3-3 with a 5.34 ERA in nine starts against Colorado. One thing to watch - he's been leaking long balls, not a good thing at Coors. Gray is a bit of a mystery, making just his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list with an abdominal strain. His heater hits 96, but hasn't blown away many Pirates; he was 0-1/8.00 in two outings against them in 2015.

Jon Niese goes tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy SS, Niese P. The gang's back together now that there's a righty on the hill.

  • Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte are tied for the MLB lead in doubles with nine. The team has banged out 50 two-baggers, tops in the NL.
  • LOL stat from @espn: "Andrew McCutchen had as many home runs (3) in 5 at-bats last night as the Braves have had in 674 at-bats this year."
  • Bad news for a good guy: Charlie Morton will require surgery and miss the rest of the season because of a torn left hamstring, per the Phillies.
  • Astros backup catcher and former Bucco Erik Kratz pitched an inning yesterday. He threw more pitches 85 MPH+ in that frame (and a knuckler!) than Jered Weaver has this season by a 9-7 margin.  (Thx to @darenw).

Cutch Is Back; Bucs Roll Over Rox 9-4

A little rain in Denver caused tarps-down and chased all the pre-game stuff inside, but the drops were supposed to quit falling by game time and play nice the rest of the night. They did.

The Bucs brought their own sunshine in the first. Jorge De La Rosa was touched up for back-to-back homers on back-to-back pitches by Cutch and David Freese. With two outs and the bases empty, a walk, HBP and Josh's single off the SS's glove made it 3-0. Cutch happened again in the second to make it 4-0. But Colorado chipped back, scoring single runs in the second, fourth and fifth frames on a collection of singles, a homer, walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball to cut the gap to 4-3. It would have been tied had not the combination of Starling's arm and a great snag and swipe by Fran cut down Geraldo Parro at home, a bang-bang play that survived review.

Cutch happens (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Enough, said the Pirates. Gregory doubled, and an out later Jordy walked ahead of Cutch, who lost his third baseball of the night by banging a three run shot off Christian Bergman heat. Starling got into the act, banging another ball yard off Gonzalez Germen, and the nail biter was suddenly 8-3. The Rox, helped by a misthrow, answered with a run of their own.

The Cole Train was done after six, giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits with two walks, a wild pitch and three whiffs after 103 pitches. Pittsburgh went quietly in the seventh, and Arquimedes Caminero made it a little more interesting than need be, walking the first pair of Rox. The next batter lined out to Cutch, and a timely 6-4-3 kept the Rockies at bay.

The last two innings played out calmly for the Bucs. Neftali Feliz and Rob Scahill each gave up a walk (the Pirates added six more free passes to their league leading number) but no runs, and Gregory singled home a salt-in-the-wound score in the ninth, chasing Fran home to make the final 9-4.

Gregory is hitting .333 (photo Brian Kerbey/Getty Images)

The Cole Train was good enough, reverting to a fastball heavy game plan against Colorado.He said with the lead, he just wanted to stay aggressive, and Clint noted that breaking balls don't spin very well in the thin Denver air. As for Cutch, well, a day off sure did wonders for his stick. He told the press gang afterward that he had "found something" while recently working in the cages; hope he doesn't lose whatever it was he found.

  • Cutch has hit three home runs in a game twice during his career (the other time was in 2009 v the Nats). McCutchen joined Ralph Kiner (four), Willie Stargell (four) and Roberto Clemente (two) as Pirates to have multiple three-homer games. He  also became  the third player to have 10 multi-home run games while spending his entire career with the Pirates. Willie Stargell (36) and Roberto Clemente (13) are the others.
  • Andrew wasn't alone; the Bucs went long five times, and Jordy just missed one, doubled off the newly extended fence in right and becoming the first non-Rockie to lose a homer to the new configuration.
  • Cutch's three hits led the way; Jordy Fran and Gregory added a pair of knocks each as the Bucs totaled 12 hits.
  • The Pirates have hit at least one double in every game this year.
  • In the Central, the Cubs are first with 15 wins, the Bucs second with 12 (3-1/2 games back) and the Cards third with 11 victories (four games off the pace.) The big three...

4/27: Wally 6-for-6; Tim's 172 Tosses; Jose #300; Matty Mo Release; Rallies, Duels & More

  • 1893 - The Pirates opened the season against the Cleveland Spiders and were spanked by Cy Young, losing 7-2 in front of 7,600 fans at Exposition Park. The team had a strong season despite that sluggish start, finishing second in the National League with a 81-48 mark. Louie Bierbauer had two hits, as did Jake Beckley and Denny Lyons. Frank Killen took the loss after surrendering four first inning runs.
  • 1902 - Pittsburgh whipped Chicago 2-0 at Exposition Park‚ as Deacon Phillippe bested rookie Jim St. Vrain. St. Vrain only gave up a single to Ginger Beaumont, but it came after the Pirates had loaded the bases on an error sandwiched between a pair of plunked batters in the eighth inning. Phillippe fanned seven and all the other outs were recorded by the infield, with 1B Kitty Bransfield recording 16 putouts. St. Vrain wasn’t quite as sure of himself in the box as he was on the mound. He grounded a ball to Honus Wagner in the seventh and lost his bearings; the confused 19-year old ran toward third base as the astonished Hans threw him out rather easily, per Gene Alston’s Journal column.
  • 1912 - The Pirates walloped Cincinnati 23-4 at Forbes Field‚ and without a home run (although they had five doubles and three triples among their 27 hits). Bobby Byrnes and Dots Miller had five knocks apiece. Reds reliever Hansey Horsey surrendered 14 hits and 12 runs in four innings in what would be his only MLB appearance. Vice President James “Sunny Jim” Sherman, a big baseball fan, attended the game along with PA Congressman Jim Burke, Lieutenant Governor JM Reynolds and an assortment of politicos and generals.
Bobby Byrne 1910 Tip Top
  • 1930 - The Pirates won their seventh game in a row 9-5 over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. OF Adam Comorosky went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. Gus Suhr drove home three more and Ira Flagstead homered.
  • 1954 - Toby Atwell and Jerry Lynch hit back-to-back homers in back-to-back at-bats in the sixth and eighth innings, the first Pirates to accomplish the feat in the 20th century (Neil Walker & Gaby Sanchez matched the feat in 2014). It wasn’t enough as Pittsburgh lost to the Reds 8-7 at Crosley Field.
  • 1970 - Steve Blass lost a pitching duel to Joe Decker and the Chicago Cubs 1-0 at Forbes Field. Blass surrendered just four hits over eight innings. One was a two-out triple by Glenn Beckert; he tried to stretch it into an inside the park HR and was dead at home, but Manny Sanguillen whiffed on the relay throw to allow the unearned, and only, run of the game to score. Meanwhile, Roberto Clemente was thrown out at the plate twice during the game, once trying to score on a Willie Stargell double and again in the ninth, when he tripled but was caught in a rundown a batter later, trapped following a comebacker. The Cubbies ran their winning streak to 11 games with the victory, a streak the Pirates would end the next day.
Steve Blass 1970 O-Pee-Chee
  • 1971 - Willie Stargell set a MLB record with his 11th HR in the month of April, a shot over the TRS center field wall against LA’s Pete Mikkelsen, in a 7-5 loss. The record stood for 36 years until it was broken by Albert Pujols, who hit 14 opening-month bombs in 2006.
  • 1990 - Wally Backman became the first NL’er to get six hits in one game in 15 years when the 3B’man went 6-for-6 against the Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in a 9-4 Pirate win. The Bucs banged out 19 hits, with Barry Bonds collecting four, including two homers and a double. Neal Heaton claimed the win.
  • 1991 - The Bucs had their way with the Mets at Shea Stadium, winning 10-1. Randy Tomlin and Bob Patterson combined on a four hitter while a trio of Pirates had three hits - Bobby Bonilla, who had four RBI and a run scored, Spanky LaValliere, with two runs driven in and one scored, and Curtis Wilkerson, who plated three times. Pittsburgh took over sole possession of first place, and never lost it as they won the division by 14 games.
  • 1993 - Tim Wakefield threw 172 pitches in defeating Atlanta‚ 6-2‚ in 11 innings at Fulton County Stadium, and he didn’t even go the distance. He was relieved by Paul Wagner in the 11th after issuing a lead-off walk. It was the most pitches tossed by one pitcher in a single game during the nineties and the most ever by a Pirate. Fernando Valenzuela was the last to throw that many pitches in a game back in 1987. The Pirates took command of the game when Mike Stanton threw away a bunt attempt by Wakefield in the 11th, setting up a pair of two-out knocks and four unearned runs. 
Tim Wakefield 1993 Leaf
  • 1985 - Pittsburgh traded minor league C Steve Herz to the Phillies for utility PH Mike Diaz. Diaz fit in nicely as a bench player for a couple of seasons, putting up a line of .250/28/89 in 606 PA while Herz never made it out of AAA.
  • 2005 - Jose Mesa sat Houston down 1-2-3 in the ninth to save Kip Wells’ 2-0 victory. It was his 300th career save, making Mesa the 19th pitcher in MLB history to reach that mark. Jason Bay and Jack Wilson drove home the runs at PNC Park.
  • 2008 - RHP Matt Morris was released by the Pirates after going 1-2/3 innings against the Phillies in his previous start the day before, giving up six runs on six hits. The 33-year-old compiled an 0-4 record with a 9.67 ERA in his five outings with Pittsburgh in 2008. He retired soon after, but the Bucs ate $11,037,283 in salary, including a $1M buyout for 2009. Pittsburgh replaced him by calling up RHP John Van Benschoten.
  • 2010 - A five-run ninth inning sparked by Ryan Doumit's grand slam and Ronny Cedeno's solo shot off Trevor Hoffman ended the Pirates 22-game losing streak in Milwaukee as the Bucs took a 7-3 victory at Miller Park. The Brew Crew's hometown hex over the Bucs was the longest held by one team over another since the Browns/Orioles lost 27 consecutive contests to the Indians in Cleveland from 1952-54.