Monday, August 11, 2008

Bucs Batter Bullpen...Bravo!

Pedro Martinez continued the schooling of the young Buccos, going 6 innings and giving up a run on three hits. But the lesson paid off when the Pirates got a shot against the Met's bullpen.

They scored three times in the seventh and added three more in the ninth, capped by Steve Pearce's two-out, two-run knock as Pittsburgh took the rainout 7-5.

Zach Duke ended the Pirate streak of strong starts when he gave up a three-run shot to David Wright in the first inning after an infield single and an error. He gave up a pair more the rest of his six innings on a home run and a Ryan Doumit drop of a Nate McLouth throw home that had the runner dead to rights.

His line ended up six innings, five runs (three earned), eight hits, a walk, and three strikeouts, and that qualifies as a sixth consecutive quality start, although it was 5-1 when he and Martinez hit the showers after the sixth.

In the seventh, the Bucs made a game of it when Freddie Sanchez and Dirtdog Doug Mientkiewicz doubled in runs, followed by a Doumit sac fly. They tied it in the final frame on Doumit's single and then took home the bacon with Pearce's bases-juiced single into center.

TJ Beam, Denny Bautista, and John Grabow pitched three scoreless innings. Bautista struck out the side in the eighth for the win, his fourth, and Grabow got the save, his second, feeding a game ending DP ball, bounced to SS Luis Rivas for the 6-4-3.

The Mets are the latest poster child for the Pirate bug-a-boo, free passes. They walked seven Pirates, and four scored. Pittsburgh kept the base on balls down to a manageable three, and none scored.

The Pirates are beginning to have the look of a MASH unit. Andy La Roche came back, but Sanchez, who was used as a pinch hitter, and Jack Splat were out with shoulder twinges. On the bright side, Rivas and 2B Chris Gomez both scored twice, so all's well that ends well.

Still, the introduction the the NL and steady duty has been rough on Brandon Moss (.194) and Andy LaRoche (.179). We're waiting on the shake-down cruise to pick up some steam.

And the team committed three errors for a second straight game. That's a worrisome stat for a team that looks like it's built to be playing a lot of close games.

The GW hopes the Bucs don't get penny-wise and pound-foolish, and keep Meintkiewicz around. He's worth the price, unless they're sure that this year's performance will turn into a full-time gig, and salary, somewhere else when his deal's up.

By the by, give Mike a visit and read about "Vic Janowicz - All American" at Hyzdu Headquarters. Janowicz was Mr. Football at Ohio State and a Buc catcher in the mid 1950's.

In another Buc blast from the past post, Randy Linville has a piece on John Tudor at Pittsburgh Lumber Company. The GW won't have anyone left to feature in the off season!

On the minor league front: Indy joined the disturbingly common ranks of Pirate teams to lose in the ninth when RHP Mike Thompson's (2-3, 5.40) first pitch was taken yard to give Rochester a 5-4 win.

RHP Daniel McCutcheon (3.76) went 6-1/3 innings, giving up 3 runs on eight hits and striking out six. He surrendered two home runs, but left with the lead. Evan Meek (2.70) gave up a run on two hits in an 1-2/3 of work for his third blown save of the year.

McCutchen has thrown 142-2/3 innings and is pushing his innings limit, so he's not going to be a candidate for call up in September. When Indy's season is done, so is his for this year.

But Ross Ohlendorf and Gorzo will join Jason Davis by then. So may Jimmy Barthmaier. It'll be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out in the final month, and even more interesting come spring training.

RF Luis Cruz (.292) was 3-4 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored. SS Brian Bixler (.276) also had three hits, scoring a run and stealing two bases. C Ronny Paulino (.404) had a pair of hits, a walk, and an RBI. LF Matt Kata (.246) went 2-5 and scored.

> Altoona was off today. Matt Capps will make a rehab start for the Curve tomorrow, going an inning or two.

> Lynchburg was ripped 10-1. 1B Kent Sakamoto hit his ninth home run.

> Hickory lost 7-6. RHP Bryan Morris (0-1, 2.79 ERA) took the loss. He went 4-2/3 innings, giving up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 7 hits and 3 walks. Morris struck out 5, gave up a home run, and uncorked two wild pitches.

Adam LaRoche, on rehab, went 2-3 with a solo home run and a walk. DH Erik Huber (.273) went 3-5 with a walk and run. SS Jordy Mercer (.217) had two hits, as did RF Keanon Simon (.203).

The Crawdads had 14 hits, but LaRoche's HR was the only extra base knock as they left 10 baserunners. They struck out 12 times and committed two errors and had a passed ball. Not a very pretty loss even if the score was close.

> State College lost 5-4. 3B Matt Payne (.270) was 3-4 with a walk, RBI, and run scored. DH Jeremy Farrell (.302) had two hits, including a double, and drove in and scored a run.

> Bradenton won 3-2. The starter, LHP Nelson Pereira (4-2, 1.46 ERA) went 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 runs, one earned, 1 walk and K'ing a pair.

RHP Brent Klinger went 3 innings yielding two hits and striking out 4. It earned him his second hold. Klinger hasn't been scored on in 4 outings covering 9-2/3 innings.

2B Adenson Chourio (.342) went 1 for 3 with a walk and a steal.

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