Pittsburgh cannot stand prosperity. Up 6-1 in the third, the Pirates did everything wrong and were thumped, 9-6.
None of the pitchers had any command, missing Ryan Doumit's target by feet, not inches. The Pirates walked 8 unintentionally, and four scored. We won't mention all the 2-0 and 3-1 counts the Oriole batters had to work with, or the wild pitches.
The Buc batters had a field day for four innings. After that, 17 up, 17 down. They flew out 16 times.
One group doesn't throw strikes with the lead; the other doesn't chip away to add to it. It was a team loss in every way.
On the Pirate front: Get ready to chew some fingernails this series - the Pirates and Orioles each have 18 comeback victories, tied for fourth in MLB. The fat lady may have to make an encore.
>The O's and Bucs last met in Baltimore during the 1979 World Series, and the last time they rumbled in Crab Cake City before that was 1971, again in the Series. The two teams have met just once for a series in the regular season, at PNC Park in 2005. The Bucs took 2 out of 3 then.
Pittsburgh is 33-34; Baltimore 32-33. So somebody will be .500 or better when the three game set ends Sunday.
On the minor league front: What did the wanna-be Bucs do at Indy last night? DH Ronny Paulino hit his 3rd home run, a grand slam, and went 1 for 4 with a walk. He's hitting .550.
SS Brian Bixler went 3 for 4 with a triple, a walk and a steal to get his average up to .250. 1B Steve Pearce went 3 for 5, and is now sitting at .256. CF Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 5, dropping his average to .284. Finally *whew* 3B Neil Walker went 0 for 5. He's hitting .228.
>At Lynchburg, RF Jamie Romak hit his 11th home run and went 1 for 3 with a walk. His average is .290. The Brave throw-in on the Adam LaRoche deal is looking more and more like a real prospect.
On the hot stove front: This is a little nuts. Jayson Stark of ESPN writes: "The Jason Bay/Xavier Nady rumors continue to percolate. But an official of one team that investigated says we should take all Pirates trade rumors this July with an entire shaker of salt.
'My feeling is they're not going to trade any of those guys, because [their ownership] wants to finish at .500. They haven't done it in 15 years. So if they're even close at the deadline, they won't trade anybody.'"
Scary news, if true. We've suffered through 15 years already; don't blow it now. Even if the suits move just big one guy and bring up McCutch, that will at least give us a sign that there's a light at the end of what's been a very long tunnel.
Actually, the sense we've gotten is that the brass don't plan to blow up the Bucs, but add a young piece or two and try to hang around in the Central while they rebuild the minors - and their fan base. After all, the pitching is young, and there's not much on the horizon to bump them. And we're OK with that.
We think they could move Nady (we'd rather move him than Bay because of Boras and his cranky wheels), LaRoche, Yates, Paulino, one of the lefty starters, one of the lefty set up guys and some other assorted odds and ends, and score a prospect or two and a few young guys to stock the system.
Hopefully, people will eventually go to PNC for the baseball one fine day instead of the bobbleheads.
On the high school front: Canon-McMillan scored 7 runs in the first two innings and cruised past Spring-Ford, 10-2, to win the PIAA Class AAAA championship.
>Burrell lost the PIAA Class AA championship this morning, dropping a 8-3 decision to Loyalsock.
>Camp Hill junior pitcher Matt Spiegel threw a two-hitter, striking out five and walking three as the Lions defeated WPIAL champion Carmichaels, 2-0, in the PIAA Class A baseball championship.
>Vicentian brought home the girls' A softball crown with a 2-1 victory against Upper Dauphin. The Royals were led by senior pitcher Trish Melvin, who struck out 14 batters and tossed a two-hitter.
Latrobe lost its bid to win the PIAA Class AAAA title, falling 3-0 to Hatboro-Horsham in a rematch against the defending champs.