Thursday, June 5, 2008

Houston, we have ignition...

Paul Maholm rode out a rough start, and backed by the bats of the Jay boys, Michaels and Bay, knocked off the Astros 4-3 tonight.

In the first couple of innings, Maholm couldn't get the ball down, and the Buc fielders couldn't get it out of their mitts. It was 3-3 after two, thanks to Jason Michael's three-run shot, and settled into a pretty nice ballgame after that.

Maholm gave the Pirates' rotation their third quality start in a row. He gave up five hits in his first two innings, then retired 20 out of the next 23 batters to earn his 4th win of the year against 5 losses.

Maholm surrendered two earned runs and got 14 ground-outs, while throwing just 86 pitches - 64 for strikes. His start marks the first time the Pirates have had starters go into the eighth inning in back-to-back games since Aug. 12-13 of last season.

Pittsburgh notched the winner in the fifth when Jay Bay tripled off the glove of Jose Cruz Jr. in center, who was focused more on the wall than the ball. Hey, Jose, if you're gonna crash into the fence anyway, you might as well catch the ball.

Matt Capps came in to close it. He looked more like Mike Williams than the Mad Capper, but he got the job done. For Capps, it was save #13.

Pittsburgh finished its 22 game stretch against the Central division with an 11-11 slate. They're 9 games behind the pace setting Cubbies and 29-31 overall.

On the draft front: Pittsburgh took HS CF Robert Grossman from Cypress-Fairbanks High of Texas in the 6th round. He's 18, 6' and 200 lbs, throws lefty and is a switch hitter. His main selling point seems to be a motor that never quits.

According to, "Grossman is the kind of player that can be fun to watch because he knows only one speed: full. A real grinder, he plays the game hard and makes the most of his tools, which include decent speed and some strength at the plate.

He doesn't really profile well at any outfield position, but it's also evident he won't be outworked and is the type to exceed expectations."

They see him as a Lenny Dykstra clone, and that's not a bad style of player to have in the organization.

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