It's one thing when the Big Units and Pedro Martinez' of the world shut you down. But when Jamie Moyer and Mike Pelfrey get in on the act, you're in trouble.
Pittsburgh has scored 25 runs in its past 10 games, and lost three of its last four, dropping a season-low 12 games below .500. The Pirates are 20 games behind the Cubs.
The first four batters for the Metropolitans reached against hard-luck righty Jason Davis, and two scored. He retired 13 of the next 14, but it was too late. Davis has an ERA of 1.80, and a record of 1-2.
The Bucs had a couple of shots against Pelfrey but couldn't cash in. The LaRoche boys both singled to start the second, but a pop-up and DP squelched that rally.
Nate McLouth opened the sixth with a double, but was caught in a rundown trying to advance on a bouncer to the pitcher. That's the third straight game Pittsburgh has had a runner thrown out trying to go from second to third on an infield grounder.
Adam LaRoche was gunned at home in the seventh on a bang-bang play after challenging Carlos Beltran's arm, and in justice, it took a perfect strike to get him. Jack Splat homered in the eighth and managed to touch all the bases for the Buc's only tally.
The turnabout in pitching has been nothing short of amazing, with ten consecutive quality starts being thrown. Now the offense - not just the new kids on the block, though they're struggling, but the whole gang - have to get more selective and quit pressing so hard.
None of them can replace Jay Bay and the X-Man, and the sooner they quit trying to be what they're not, the sooner the attack will come around.
On the minor league front: Indy blew a 5-0 lead, giving up a pair of runs in both the eighth and ninth innings to go down 6-5. RHP Jimmy Barthmaier (3.43 ERA) went six strong innings, giving up a run on 4 hits with 6 K's and a walk.
But Marino Salas, JVB, and Juan Perez gave up 5 runs in the final three innings to negate his effort. Perez (2-2, 3.31 ERA) took the loss.
LF Nyjer Morgan (.294) had a double, three RBI, and a run scored. He stole 5 bases, including third twice and home. Morgan has 43 swipes for the Tribe.
3B Neil Walker (.236) hit his 15th HR, and 2B Luis Cruz (.310) had a pair of knocks, including a double. Andrew McCutchen (.279) went 0-3, but he walked twice and stole two sacks. He has 30 steals on the year.
> Altoona had a laugher, banging out 18 hits en route to a 12-0 victory. LHP Kyle Bloom (4-7, 4.47 ERA), RHP Ron Belisario (5.08 ERA) and RHP Moises Robles (2.77 ERA) combined for the shutout.
1B Jamie Romak (.197) had his coming out party, collecting 4 hits including two that went yard, 6 RBI, and a pair of runs scored. 3B Jim Negyrch (.306) also had 4 hits, 2 runs, and 2 RBI.
CF Jose Tabata (.254) DH Shelby Ford (.289), RF Brad Corley (.271), and LF Jonel Pacheco (.269) each had two hits. Ford and Tabata also had a stolen base apiece.
> Lynchburg went down quietly, 4-1. RHP Brad Lincoln (1-4, 5.52 ERA) went 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and three runs, with 4 strike-outs. LF Miles Durham (.224) broke up the shutout in the ninth with a solo homer, his third. He also doubled.
> Hickory was down 7-0 before they got to the plate, and lost 10-3. 1B Tom Hagan (.271) hit his fifth homer, going 2-3 with a walk. RF Keanon Simon (.225) and SS Jordy Mercer (.229) added a pair of hits.
> State College lost 5-4. RHP Alan Knotts (4.01 ERA) kept the game close, going 4-1/3 innings giving up 3 hits, no runs, and K'ing a pair.
SS Chase d'Arnaud (.330) was hot, going 3-4 with a double, walk, and two tallies. 3B Jeremy Farrell (.296) and CF Ciro Rosero (.270) had two hits each.
> The Bradenton Pirates lost the first game of a twin bill, 1-0. LHP Tyler Cox (2-3, 1.74 ERA) took the loss, giving up 1 hit over five innings and an unearned run. He struck out 5.
The GCL Buccos came back in game 2, winning 7-1. RHP Albert Fagan (2-2, 3.72 ERA) went five innings, giving up three hits and striking out two. RHP Brent Klinger (0.77 ERA) finished up, giving up a run over the last two innings on two hits with 2 K's.
The baby Bucs were led by 3B Freizer Pedron (.190) who went 2-3 with a double, walk, 2 runs and an RBI. 1B Alex Vargas (.258) had two hits, a double, and a run scored and RBI.