The Pirates struck out 15 times, but when they did put wood to the ball, it counted, as they held off the Reds 6-5. Freddie Sanchez and Nate McLouth set the table, each scoring twice, and Ryan Doumit and Adam LaRoche took advantage with a pair of RBI apiece.
The much hyped matchup of Ross Ohlendorf and Edinson Volquez was a fizzle. Both were just OK, and neither was around for the decision. Tyler Yates got the win, facing one batter and getting a DP, deflecting a ball to Sanchez for the 1-4-6-3.
Matt Capps came on in the ninth for his 19th save, flashing an effective off speed pitch to make up for his lost velocity. He was only hitting 90 on the gun. Capps may need the off season to regain his gas, or may be evolving into a different animal altogether, transitioning from a power guy to a control closer,
ala Trevor Hoffman.
The Reds loaded up with lefties against Ohlendorf, and for good reason. His MLB splits this year are .247 against righties and .349 against port siders. His fastball tails into righties, but drifts over the plate against lefties. That's why the Pirates are trying to add an effective change to his pitching palette.
The game was marked with back and forth action, and some curious managing. John Russell, after switching pitchers every other batter - what the heck, he's got 11 guys in the pen - decided to stick with John Grabow in the eighth, up by a pair.
Grabow had no command, walking a batter and giving up a soft single to load the bases. Then he walked in a run. Russell looked at his feet in the dugout as Grabow got out of the jam by striking out RH Andy Phillips, helped by a generous strike call and Phillips fishing for a ball in the dirt.
Dusty Baker kept Volquez on the mound for seven frames and 117 pitches, including 27-pitch and 30-pitch innings. Apparently, he was trying to get him his 17th win, but that's hardly the way to coddle an arm that's expected to carry your team for the next few years, especially in a meaningless September game.
He also played the infield back with runners on first and third in the eighth with no one out in a tie game, and then again down by a run in the same situation. That's a lotta confidence in your bats.
> Tuesday, Freddie Sanchez had an MRI, but it had nothing to do with him reinjuring his shoulder. It was done for Sanchez's "peace of mind," as Pittsburgh manager John Russell put it.
The main culprit of Sanchez's lingering pain has been long relays. He uses an exaggerated overhead motion on his throws, which places unnecessary stress on his shoulder and causes his tendinitis to flare. He and Tony Beasley are working on an easier motion for his throws.
>The MLB suits ruled today that scorekeeper Bob Webb's ruling of Andy LaRoche's hit off Brewers starter CC Sabathia on Sunday would stand.
> A transcript of Frank Coonelly's radio Q&A is available at Coonelly Chats with Pirate Fans.