Now that's the kinda baseball we're talking about.
Paul Maholm kept the string of sweet pitching performances going, the Buc bats finally put together a big inning, and Jay Michaels, with a couple of tumbling catches, and Andy LaRoche, showing off a howitzer for an arm, keyed a strong defensive game as the Pirates won 5-2 tonight.
Maholm ran off eight innings of 7-hit ball, yielding only a pair of solo homers. 69 of his 96 pitches were strikes as he struck out 5 and didn't walk a soul, picking up his 8th win and dropping his ERA to 3.69.
Ol' Pirate Josh Fogg kept the Bucs off balance over the first four innings, but they got to him the second time around with a four run fifth inning. The big blows were a two run double by Ryan Doumit and a two run dinger by Michaels.
Brandon Moss drove one into the bullpen in the eighth, John Grabow pitched a perfect ninth for his third save, and Pittsburgh had a nice, workman-like win over the Reds.
Freddie Sanchez returned to the lineup, Adam LaRoche is expected back tomorrow after his third straight multi-hit game at Hickory, and the Bucs got LHP Justin Wilson, their fifth round pick, to sign on the dotted line.
Wilson will report to the GCL Bradenton Pirates, where he'll finish out what's left of the season. From there, he'll take part in the Pirate's fall instructional league. Wilson appeared in 23 games (19 starts) in his junior season at Fresno State and went 9-5 with a 4.14 ERA. He finished the year with 108 strikeouts.
Pedro Alvarez, Tanner Scheppers, Robert Grossman (6th round) and Andrew Gagnon (10th round) are the other top 10 picks still unsigned as the clock continues to tick.
After the game, Joey Bats was sent down to AAA to clear a spot for Adam LaRoche on the 25-man roster. There really wasn't any other logical choice, as he joins Gorzo and Ronny Paulino at the Indy home for wayward Pirates.
Speaking of wayward Pirates, the Giants DFA'ed Jose Castillo, 27, who hit .244 in 394 plate appearances for SF. He earned $650K.
On the minor league front: Indy won 1-0 behind the four hit pitching of RHP Ross Ohlendorf (3-3, 3.60 ERA). He went eighth innings, striking out three and walking one. Ohlendorf threw 100 pitches, 65 for strikes. It was Indy's second straight shutout victory.
The Tribe got its only run of the afternoon in the first when 3B Neil Walker (.236) drove in LF Nyjer Morgan (.294). They both had a pair of hits, as did SS Brian Bixler (.284) and C Candy Maldonado (.222), who had two doubles.
> Altoona lost 5-3. CF Jose Tabata (.257) was a one man wrecking crew, going 4-4 with a double, RBI, and two runs scored.
> Lynchburg was rained out.
> Hickory lost 17-11, giving up eight runs in the last two innings.
RF Keanon Simon (.218) went 3-5 with a double, 3 runs scored, and an RBI. 3B Silvio Pena (.243) had two hits and a walk, scored twice and added an RBI. SS Jordy Mercer (.225) had 2 hits and drove in a pair. C Aeden McQueary (.114) was 2-4 with two runs and an RBI. DH Matt Hague (.329) had two hits.
Adam LaRoche was 2-3 in his third Crawdad appearance with a walk and 2 RBI. He'll rejoin Pittsburgh tomorrow after hitting .600 in rehab.
> State College broke out the bats tonight, but in an amazing come-from-ahead loss, gave up 7 runs in the ninth to lose 13-10. And we thought Pirate pre-trade pitching was bad!
DH Kyle Morgan (.162) went 2-2 with a walk and HR, his first, 3 runs and 3 RBI. 2B Chad Rice (.246) had two hits, a walk, a double, and 3 RBI. CF Ciro Rosero (.258) had two hits, a double, and 2 RBI. IF Chase D'Arnaud (.308) also had a pair of knocks, a double, and 2 runs. The Spikes smacked 6 doubles and a homer in the loss.
> Bradenton won 4-1 as three pitchers combined on the seven hit victory. RF Edward Garcia (.235) went 2-2 with a pair of walks, a run and an RBI. 3B Jarek Cunningham (.325) went 2-4 with an RBI and run scored. DH Craig Parry (.326) had a pair of hits and scored.
Seems like the Pirates sent all the bats to State College and Hickory and kept all the arms at Bradenton.