Say this for the Pirates - they don't quit. Down 4-0 in the seventh, a hit and a couple of walks loaded the sacks for Jason Michaels, coming in cold off the bench with two outs. All he did was launch one into the bullpen to tie the game.
First, Luis Rivas, now Jay Michaels. When will the madness end? Michaels' pitch-hit slam was the first for Pittsburgh since Craig Wilson hit one against Milwaukee in 2003, and his third career bases juiced jack.
An inning later, again with two gone, Jay Bay drove in Nate McLouth, who got to second after a leadoff single on a Jack Splat sac bunt, with the game winner. Frankie Osoria, Damaso Marte and Matt Capps shut down the Cards over the final three, and the Bucs earned a split with an unlikely win over St. Louis.
Gorzo pitched an OK game, going 6 innings and giving up 4 runs on 7 hits. The outing actually lowered his ERA, to 7.22. He was spraying the ball some, but did hit his spots often enough to hang in. Still, that 89 MPH heater...
Give some props to the Card fans, among the most knowledgeable in the league. They gave McLouth a prolonged ovation after he made a dazzling, back to the plate catch to take away a possible triple from Aaron Miles in the first inning.
All in all, a sweet way to end a road trip.
And a huge GW high five to the Pens, who stayed alive with a triple overtime win in the Motor City. The kids are all right. Marc Andre Fleury was awesome.
On the Pirate front: Gorzo better rediscover his form in a hurry. During his Sunday radio show, GM Neal Huntington said the minors are an option if he can't find his groove.
Huntington was quoted by the Post Gazette as saying "We have to figure out the best course of action to get him back to his potential. Whether we can do that at the major league level, or that does take going to Indianapolis...we're still a ways away from that, but the reality is that we have to help Tom Gorzelanny."
Of course, the bigger issue isn't whether he deserves sent down or not. The question is whether there's anyone at Indy that can do any better. If the brass think not, then they might as well let him work it out in Pittsburgh.
>Jack Wilson is expected to be back in the Pirates' lineup for the team's final game of it seven-game road trip on Monday night. But as Sunday showed, nothing is certain when it comes to his leg, when he was scratched from the lineup just before game time for the second straight time.
Jack Splat felt a "pinch" behind his knee during the pre-game warmups, and John Russell opted to let Wilson fight another day.
>Russell said he hopes to get Bryan Bullington some work out of the bullpen in the next few days since the RHP hasn't thrown in a game since May 25.
>The MLB scheduling is hard to figure; we suppose it just proves the old adage that it takes a computer to really screw up. Pittsburgh meets Houston, a division rival, for the first time this year tomorrow, in game #58. Then they meet them a half dozen times in July and seven more times in September.
Couldn't the league have penciled in an Astro series or two instead of the quadzillion Cub games?
On the minor league front: Pitcher Jeff Sues, 24, was promoted to AA Altoona a couple of weeks ago. The right-hander had been one of Lynchburg’s more effective relievers, posting a 2.11 ERA in 13 appearances, with 17 Ks to 6 walks.
This kinda slipped under our radar, but since he's been there, Sues has pitched 9 innings in 5 outings, with a 1-0 record, 2.00 ERA, and 12 K's to 3 walks. The 6'4", 220 pounder was drafted in 2005 from Vandy with a great heater, but has spent considerable time on the DL. Sues is a converted starter and may bear watching.
Altoona, still in a 22-32 funk record-wise, won 6 out of 7 games on its' just concluded road trip. Then they came home and lost. Go figure.