Nyjer Morgan's leadoff walk eventually turned into a run on Ryan Doumit's double, the first of his three hits, to take an early lead. Snell went seven innings and made it hold up, giving up 4 hits with one walk and eight strike outs.
Snell (5-10) won for only the second time in 11 starts since June 17. He allowed just two runners to reach scoring position against a team that scored 19 earned runs in 19 innings against him in four previous starts this year.
Quietly, he's now strung together three straight quality starts, and won his first road game since late April.
Sean Burnett and Denny Bautista, saved by a fine running catch on the track by Morgan on an Albert Pujos shot after a nine pitch at bat, got through the eighth. Then the action really picked up.
Doumit and Adam LaRoche started off the ninth with singles, and Jay Michael's bunt was fielded by Yadier Molina, who opted to go to third for the force. Bad choice; everyone was safe.
The next batter, Andy LaRoche, bounced one to second that came home for the force out - but Molina dropped the perfect throw, looking to first and a possible DP.
Steve Pearce walked to plate another run. Then Luis Rivas lifted a fly into medium center. For some reason, Michaels didn't tag, and young LaRoche was hung up between the sacks.
But the throw went through everyone, and another run came in. The pitcher, backing up the play, got to the ball, but Molina capped his performance by leaving the plate uncovered while chasing down the throw to let Michaels in uncontested.
By then, it was 4-0, and it was all over but for the shouting. And there was some noise - John Grabow and TJ Beam gave up a run on three walks and a bloop hit in the bottom of the ninth, but Beam struck out Brian Barton with the bases juiced for his first MLB save. He became the seventh Pirate hurler to earn a save, the most since 1996.
In real life, Jodi Mientkiewicz came home today after a pacemaker was installed in her heart to combat a viral infection, and that's great news. On the other side of the coin, young John Challis lost his public battle with cancer after inspiring so many by taking his fight to the wire.
On the draft front: Jim Callis of Baseball America picked his top ten signing coups of this year's draft, and two Pirate selections were among them:
Robbie Grossman, of (sixth round, $1 million, No. 49 on BA Top 200) Athletic switch-hitter adds to Pittsburgh's burgeoning outfield talent.
Quinton Miller, rhp (20th round, $900,000, No. 158 on BA Top 200) He shows flashes of a low-90s fastball, plus slider and average changeup.
Nice to know that the Pittsburgh draft, for once, drew cheers instead of jeers.
On the minor league front: Indy and RHP Ross Ohlendorf (3-4, 3.86 ERA) lost tonight, 4-3. The Big O went six innings, giving up 6 hits, including a homer (to ex Bucco Big Country Brad Eldred, his 33rd), and four runs. He walked two and struck out seven.
C Candy Maldonado was the unlikely batting leader with a double and home run, his third, adding an RBI and two runs scored. RF Chris Duffy was activated to replace Nyjer Morgan, and went 1-4.
> Altoona gave up three runs in the ninth, but hung on to win 7-6. Veteran RHP Dan Reichert (2-3, 4.81 ERA) went six innings for the win, giving up four hits, 3 runs (two earned), three K's and two walks.
C Steve Lerud (.280) and LF Jonel Pocheco (.275) both had two hits and two runs scored. CF Jose Tabata (.264) had two hits and an RBI. 1B Jamie Romak (.217) homered and had 3 RBI, and RF Jim Boone (.229) also went yard, his eighth.
> Lynchburg surrendered two runs in the ninth, but came back in the tenth to win 6-5. LHP Brian Holliday (5.23 ERA) went eight innings, giving up 8 hits, two runs, and striking out 9. RHP Eric Krebs (4-2, 4.25 ERA) went 1-2/3 innings yielding a hit for the win.
1B Kent Sakamota homered in the extra frame, his tenth, to bring home the bacon. LF Jared Keel (.231) had three hits, including a triple. DH Danny Bomback (.273) had two hits, one being his 2nd HR, a solo shot. CF James Barksdale (.265) also had a pair of knocks, with a triple.
The go-go Curve stole five bases in 7 tries, with Keel swiping his 13th & 14th sacks.
> Hickory pounded out an 8-2 win tonight. RHP Rodolfo Aguirre (2-3, 4.39 ERA) went six shutout innings, giving up 2 hits, walking 3 and striking out 7.
CF Keanon Simon (.237) continued to tear it up with four hits, a run and 2 RBI. CF Austin McClune (.212) went 3-6, with his 4th homer and a double, 3 RBI and a run. C Ronald Pena (.255) had two hits, a double, a run and an RBI. RF Erik Huber (.266) hit his 10th home run.
> State College was off for the NYPL All-Star game, with SS Chase d'Arnaud (.339, 0-12) and 1B/3B Jeremy Farrell (.297, 0-19) representing the Spikes.
Both smacked doubles in the National League’s 4-3 All-Star Game victory in Troy, New York. Farrell entered the game in the sixth inning, doubling to left field. Farrell played the remainder of the game at first base.
d’Arnaud joined the fun in the bottom of the fifth inning. After walking in the seventh, d’Arnaud led off the ninth inning with a double to left field and scored.
> Bradenton was off today.