Boy, it wasn't easy, but the Bucs pulled out a 6-4 victory over the Astro's tonight in the preliminary to the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.
The Pirates scored five times in the first inning - and how's that for role reversal? - tacked on another run in the second, and went into a deep coma for the rest of the game. Ryan Doumit did the early damage, driving in three runs with a pair of doubles.
After that, seven Pittsburgh pitchers, with varying degrees of success, held the Astros to four runs. Houston got six of its leadoff hitters on, banged out eleven hits, drew four walks and got an error to aid the cause, but left 10 runners stranded as they sputtered to defeat.
Jason Davis pitched a pair of scoreless innings for the win, his second, and Matt Capps, despite some drama, shut the door in the ninth for his 20th save.
GW followed the game on MLB.com's Gameday - FSN had that crucial early season clash between Texas and Rice pre-empt the Pirates - and according to their gun, the Mad Capper was hitting 93 with his heater, even touching 96 against Lance Berkman. That's good news for 2009.
Well, one last hurrah at home, and PNC can call it a year. The 2008 season has been a long, strange journey.
> Jack Splat made his return from his finger injury, pinch hitting for the pitcher. He flew out to center. Hopefully, he can take a possible final bow tomorrow.
> The Pirates named Jim Negrych their Minor League Player of the Year and Jeff Sues their Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2008 season on Saturday.
Negrych, the Pirates' sixth-round selection in the 2006, hit a combined .359 (170-for-473) with five home runs, 72 RBIs and 87 runs scored in 129 games between Class A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona.
Sues, a fifth-round selection in 2005, also made the jump from Lynchburg to Altoona this season. The 25-year-old right-handed reliever posted a combined record of 4-2 with three saves, a 3.22 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 37 appearances.