It was a beautiful night for baseball. If the Bucs could whip Joel Pineiro, of the 8.10 ERA, they could pick up a game on the entire NL Central, less Houston. But it wasn't to be.
Tom Gorzelanny, last year's ace, walked 7 and left after five innings down 3-1. Gorzo threw 94 pitches, barely half for strikes. Phil Dumatrait came on to give up another pair, and Saint Louis was on its' way to a 6-2 win.
Dumatrait could be on the verge of giving up his Pirate uniform after yielding six hits in two innings. He hasn't been able to transition from starter to the pen, and if Sean Burnett keeps pitching lights out in Indy, someone's got to go.
Burnett, manager Trent Jewett told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, has done all the things the Pirates asked of him as he switched from starter to reliever. He's pitched multiple innings, with his longest stint lasting three innings. He's thrown on back-to-back days. He's learned to get loose in the pen quickly.
He's tossed 11 innings and allowed just one run on three hits. He has struck out 12. His ERA and WHIP are the same, 0.82. He's got three saves and a hold. Burnett is close to being ready, with his only red flag being six walks. Watch out, Phil.
And if we were Frankie Osoria or Evan Meek, we wouldn't be looking forward to a call to visit the manager, either. Sooner or later a couple of Bucs are gonna walk the plank...the new bosses are pushing that accountability thing, remember?
Pineiro quieted the Bucco bats, giving up just 4 hits in seven innings. The Pirates made some noise in the ninth, but Jason Isringhausen put an end to that.
The only good news with the lumber was that Xavier Nady had a ninth inning single to keep his 12-game hitting streak alive, and Adam LaRoche banged out a pair of hits. He hit the ball on the nose last night, too, and as May approaches, maybe the kinks in his long, arcing stroke are at long last smoothing out.
The Pirate errorless streak also ended when Brian Bixler couldn't get the ball out his mitt cleanly. That's 22 games and 9 SS errors, if you're keeping score. Funny, but the Bucs play two flawless games and win; boot a ball and they lose. Hmmm, do we detect a trend...?
The attendance was 9,544 tonight, and judging by the boos, they did not seem to be enjoying their PNC experience. With the Penguins in town Friday night and Sunday afternoon, the Bucs and Phils could be playing to a little league gate this weekend.
On the Pirate history front: Looking at the empty seats, we got to wondering what the biggest gate of Bucco history was.
On October 1, 2000, a crowd of 55,351, the largest ever to see a Pirate baseball game in Pittsburgh, watched the Bucs fall to the Chicago Cubs, 10-9, in the final game at Three Rivers Stadium.
The largest World Series crowd was 51,377, spinning those stiles to watch the O's on October 14, 1971. That was the 4-0 Nellie Briles victory in game #5 at TRS.
The largest crowd, 59,568, to ever watch a baseball game in Pittsburgh was during the 65th All-Star Game on July 12, 1994 at TRS, a ten inning 8-7 NL win.