The Pirates gave up five runs in the past two games, and lost them both. They gave up six tonight, and won. Go figure.
The keys to the 8-6 victory weren't the Pirate bats; it wasn't even the comination of fireworks and Polish-American night at PNC. Nope, it was the inability of the Reds' infield to turn a DP. Today's game started out like yesterday's: first and second, no one out, and Nate McLouth up.
Just like yesterday, McLouth smacked a ground ball right at a Reds' infielder. Unlike last night, Brandon Phillips let this one eat him up. Instead of two out and one on, the Bucs had two on, a run in, and nobody out, and were on their way to an opening frame four spot.
It was almost a repeat in the seventh inning. With the bases juiced and an out, Andy LaRoche rolled one to Adam "Pete" Rosales at third. He bobbled the ball, threw late to second, and Phillips dropped the ball; two runs scored on the miscue when he didn't chase the ball down as it rolled away from him. His 2008 Gold Glove has turned to iron, judging from this series.
Both teams had their share of bad hair moments tonight. Ramon Hernandez lolligagged on a wild pitch and allowed Nyjer Morgan to go from first to third; he scored on a sac fly.
Freddy Sanchez dropped a pop-up, Nate McLouth took a bad angle on a drive to center, Ramon Vazquez showed the range of a Mack truck, and it sure looked like Adam LaRoche gave up on a pop foul that hit the tarp (though in justice he just may not have been able to catch up to the ball). All in all, it was a good night to show the little leaguers what not to do in the field.
The most frustrated guy had to be Matt Capps, who gave up five hits in the ninth. Every one was a two or three hopper hit in the hole; two were knocked down. He solved that problem by getting the last two outs by K's - sandwiched, of course, around another ground ball single.
The next most frustrated human had to be Brandon Moss. Oh, he did get an RBI, but he was up twice with no outs and the bases loaded, but couldn't bring home a run either time.
But hey, a win is a win. And the Pirates are going to need their share of ugly wins until Ryan Doumit heals. McLouth's return - he had 3 hits, 3 runs scored, an RBI, and a stolen base - gives the Bucs a three hitter again, but after Adam LaRoche, the pickings are still slim.
-- GW is fast approaching his favorite time of year. From his hilltop porch in Greenfield, if he looks right, he can catch the Zambelli and other downtown fireworks; when he turns left, he can watch the sky light up from Sandcastle and points southeast. Can't beat city living in the summer.