OK, five nice starts in a row - with ten runs scored in that same span to back the suddenly sterling pitching up. And don't mention the fielding and bullpen. Aye carumba!
The Phillies went ahead in the third in a bizarre sequence of events. After Carlos Ruiz walked to lead off the inning, Jamie Moyer put down a sacrifice bunt that rolled maybe 15' or 20' in front of home plate, and the comedy of errors began.
Jason Davis made a wild throw to first after being trampled by Ryan Doumit, who clearly called for the ball, allowing Moyer to advance to second.
Moyer knocked first base umpire Randy Marsh on his kiester on his way to second and then went to third on another throwing error by Jay Michaels from right field. A sacrifice fly to center by Jimmy Rollins scored Moyer. They were the only two runs to score in 6 innings against Davis, without the benefit of a hit.
It wasn't a gem, as he gave up four hits and walked four, but he kept the game in hand. In fact, the Bucs were up 3-2 when Tyler Yates imploded, yielding a three spot in the seventh thanks mainly to a Chase Utley two-run blast.
But it wasn't just about Yates and the Buc's whiffle ball bats. There were two wild pitches and a passed ball, as Doumit stabbed at pitches instead of sliding for the block. Maybe the wear and tear of catching is starting to take its toll on him.
Brandon Moss dropped a fly ball. Craig Hansen, John Russell, and plate ump Scott Barry had a Three Stooges moment after a borderline 3-2 call went against Hansen. It was like watching the Pirates of April all over again, with the hitting and pitching switched.
Well, the roster has turned over. It is the start of a new season.
On the Pirate front: Jason Davis was the Bucs' 12th different starting pitcher this season. The Pirates used 10 different starters last year.
> Adam LaRoche has never played at Class A, but he'll get his first introduction on Monday, when the Pirates' first baseman joins the Hickory Crawdads of the Sally League. They're on an 8-day homestand while the other teams are traveling.
La Roche is expected back with the Bucs sometime this week. His lil' bro Andy pinch hit today, and is day-to-day, along with Jack Splat, who has a touch of tendinitis in his shoulder.
> John Perrotto over at Baseball Prospectus lists several people which he believes are the most likely to be made available if and when they clear waivers, including Jose Bautista and Doug Mientkiewicz. Maybe the Pirate dealing isn't done.
> Today's match against the Phillies marked the 5,000th game in Pirates broadcaster Lanny Frattare's 33-year career. His first game behind the mike came on April 10, 1976, in a 5-4, 11-inning Opening Day victory over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
On the minor league front: Indy won 6-4. LHP Gorzo (2-1, 2.57 ERA) went 5-2/3 innings for the win. He gave up three runs on five hits and a walk, and struck out 10. He's expected to rejoin the club after 2 or 3 more outings for the Tribe.
C Ronny Paulino (.404) went 3-5 with a double and run scored. 1B Jason Delaney (.286) had a double, triple, RBI and tally. 3B Neil Walker (.234) went 2-4 with a walk, RBI, and run scored. RF Nyjer Morgan (.290) had two hits and an RBI.
> It was Altoona's turn to have its closer, RHP Ronald Belisario (4-3. 5.03 ERA) lose a game in the ninth as he gave up a two run homer in a 5-4 loss.
C Steve Lerud (.231) had three hits, including his fourth home run and a double. 2B Shelby Ford (.289) went 2-4 with a run scored, RBI, double, and walk. SS Angel Gonzalez (.312) added a pair of hits, including a triple and a run scored.
Jose Tabata, Jim Negrych, and Jamie Romak combined to go 2-12 with three walks and three K's. Welcome to AA.
> Hickory was squashed again, 12-6. 2B Greg Picart (.265) and 3B Matt Hague (.320) had a pair of hits in the loss. Picart hit his second home run, scored twice and had an RBI. Hague doubled, drove in a run and scored once.
> Hey, hey, the Spikes almost won. It managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by giving up four runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose 9-8. LF Quincy Latimore (.262) hit his second home run, walked, stole a base, drove in 3 runs and scored two more. 2B Chad Rice (.228) went 2-3 with a walk, scored twice and had an RBI.
> Bradenton was rained out today.