The headlines said it all - "Pirates Tie Record With 16th Consecutive Losing Season" and right below it, "Steelers Romp." Baseball season is now officially over in Pittsburgh, at least as far as the local sporting public is concerned.
And with losses like today's, it's no wonder. Cruising along with a 5-0 lead and tossing three no-hit innings, the wheels fell off for Jeff Karstens in a hurry. How about giving up a ten-spot?
It started with a soft single, an error by Karstens, and a lost pop-up by Brian Bixler. Then a sinking liner was spanked into left center that Nate McLouth dove for, missed, and got conked in the noggin with for his trouble, opening a nasty gash over his eye.
To add insult to injury, the single turned into a bases-clearing triple. Three more hits followed, then Steve Pearce misplayed a bloop.
Eight Giants in a row reached base, although if the baseball gods hadn't been so mischievous, it could have been a manageable inning with the Bucs in their dugout. It's hard to point a finger at Karstens in the middle of a team melt-down.
TJ Beam entered, gave up a single, got an out - number one, after 10 batters - and watched a grounder glance off Freddy Sanchez's glove. By the time the smoked cleared, it was 10-5 G-Men, and the fat lady had sung for Pittsburgh.
So far on their road trip, the Pirates are 3-3. They blew a five run, three run, and another five run lead in the losses. At least McLouth joined the 20-20 club today before retiring for the afternoon.
McLouth needed some stitches over his eye, but it's uncertain if the 2008 Pirates can be put back together so easily. With the Steelers and Pitt already on the field, and the Penguins poised to take to the ice, there won't be many people in town that care.