Duke went eight innings, giving up three runs on six hits, including a pair that went yard. But they were solo shots, unlike Sanchez's two-out blow in the fourth.
Pittsburgh banged out 16 hits, and we'd like to say that they've turned the corner offensively. But we'd be premature, based on tonight's performance. The Pirates hit into three DPs, had a runner thrown out at the plate, and hit into a first-and-third, no out, DP to second that didn't score the runner on third (it was Duke, so that may help explain it).
But one encouraging sign was the the Buc hits weren't rolled through the infield; there were quite a few liners spanked, and that was a welcome sight.
The Zachster is now 7-4 with a 3.10 ERA, and thrived with the lead, retiring the final eleven Tigers before giving way to Jesse Chavez in the ninth. It's only June, but if you're compiling an early list of Comeback of The Year Players...
But it's nice to have an easy day at the shop, and with all the offensive woes, the guys are still only five out in the Central.
-- Bill Mazeroski, Chuck Tanner, John Candelaria, Elroy Face, Bob Friend, Al Oliver, Jim Rooker, Grant Jackson, Dave Giusti, Kent Tekulve, Manny Sanguillen, Steve Blass and Bob Robertson were honored before the game as part of "Championship Weekend."
-- JR is sitting Brandon Moss down for a couple of days, with back-to-back lefties due. Delwyn Young got the start tonight in right field.
-- Baseball America dedicated its' "Prospect Hot Sheet" to the top picks of 2008. Here's what BA had to say about Pedro:
"Alvarez' 2008 season was wiped out thanks to a dispute over whether he signed before or after the Aug. 15 midnight deadline. His 2009 season has had much less drama, but less than expected production (.236/.335/.448 in 203 at-bats at high Class A Lynchburg) as well. Alvarez' power (10 home runs) is there and his on-base percentage is almost 100 points higher than his batting average, so if he can just fix his low average, he should be fine in the long-run."Looks like that holdout is making the long run a lot longer than it should have been.
-- Way to go, Pens. They win the Stanley Cup, the Steelers win the Super Bowl, and with the same formula. Draft well and fill in the pieces on the market. We think the current suits are trying to copy the same blueprint with the Pirates; time will tell when it's finally time to add pieces instead of moving them.