You wonder what Yoslan Herrera was dreaming on that boat in July, 2005, when he and 17 other Cubanos drifted across the deep blue sea for two days to Miami and freedom. We can't read minds, but we'll bet tonight was high on his wish list.
After a year in the Dominican and and season and a half in Altoona, Herrera won his first MLB ball game tonight, spinning 6 shutout innings in the Pirates 9-1 runaway win over hapless San Diego, which has now lost 9 of its last 10 games.
He gave up six hits - and two of them were Luis Rivas gifts - struck out 4 and walked one. Herrera wasn't overwhelming, but he did a much better job of mixing his pitches and keeping the ball down, and that was enough against the punchless Padres.
He iced the game in the third, when with runners on second and third, he got the PNC-loving Brian Giles to bounce back to the mound, ending the inning and SD's most serious threat against him. The grin splitting Herrera's face after the game said it all.
Denny Bautista and Sean Burnett brought the victory home. Maybe even more amazing than Herrera's game was Burnett tossing his first 1-2-3 inning of the year, in his 29th appearance. The trio struck out nine batters and walked one. You don't see that line often for Pittsburgh.
The Buc bats were efficient, even for them, scoring nine runs on eleven hits. Three left the yard, drilled by Jay Bay, Xavier Nady, and Nate McLouth. Like last night, the Pirates shared the spoils - seven players scored, six had RBI, and four had multiple hits.
Dang, if the X-Man could only play third base, we'd be half tempted to tell the Yankees and Rays to pound salt and keep the gang together.