Ya know, the Pirate suits are lookin' smarter and smarter for locking up Paul Maholm for the next three or four years. The lefty spun another gem tonight as the Bucs beat the Braves, 3-0. Atlanta misses Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar, both day-to-day.
Maholm (2-0) went seven innings, giving up four hits and three walks while striking out a pair. Cool as the winter wind, he got out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the second inning with a broken bat pop-up and a 1-2-3 DP, then ran on cruise control for the next five innings, helped by some fine glovework by Andy LaRoche and Nate McLouth.
He didn't have the greatest command, throwing 102 pitches, and only 57 for strikes. Besides the walks (one being the opposing pitcher), he also beaned Brian McCann twice. But he didn't crack.
Good thing, too. Jair Jurrjens went 6-2/3 innings, and only gave up a run on four hits and two walks. He struck out seven. The Pirates scored the only run they'd need in the second, when Brandon Moss tripled and came in on a ground out by Andy LaRoche.
The duel was ultimately decided by the bullpens, and Pittsburgh is in pretty good shape when a starter can turn a game over in the eighth. John Grabow gave up a couple of hits, but kept the Braves scoreless in the eighth, and Matt Capps nailed Atlanta 1-2-3 to seal the deal in the ninth, notching his third save.
The Brave bullpen has been a train wreck this year, and former Bucco Mike Gonzalez gave up a two-run homer to McLouth in the eighth frame to bring on the Fat Lady.
Ian Snell takes on lefty Jo Jo Reyes tomorrow afternoon. It'll be the first appearance of the season for Reyes, who was called up from AAA to take Tom Glavine's spot in the rotation.
-- The Pirate roster shook out today. Delwyn Young reported, and Luis Cruz was optioned to Indy. Andy Phillips was then dealt to the White Sox - Young made him a fifth wheel - for 23 year-old RHP pitcher Mike Dubee, who will add some depth to the Bucs' lower level pitching.