Hey, there's nothing to coaching baseball, according to the gospel of old Oriole manager Earl Weaver: get solid starting pitching and play for the three run homer. It worked for him over the years, and it worked for the Bucs tonight as they won 6-2.
Paul Maholm gave the team the solid pitching, going seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk, and getting three DPs behind him. His only bump in the road was dealing with Willie Bloomquist and Billy Butler; Bloomquist scored twice, driven in both times by Butler. He faced the minimum 12 batters over the last four innings.
After falling behind 2-0, Delwyn Young followed a pair of bloops with a blast into the bullpen, and the Pirates never looked back, putting up insurance scores in the seventh and eighth frames. 36,000+ fans were loving the game as much as the fireworks.
The Central is topsy-turvy this year. The Bucs are in last, but only five games in back of frontrunners St. Louis and Milwaukee (and the wildcard), and 1-1/2 games behind the Cubs for third.
It could make the upcoming moves a little more tricky for the suits if the team keeps within shouting distance for another month.
Do they dare move Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez if they're in a race? The pair don't really fit into a 2012 time frame, but there's no one behind them in the system for now, like McCutch was for Nate McLouth. Stay tuned.
-- A couple of notable vignettes from last night's game: Royals OF Jose Guillen played Andy LaRoche's triple off the Clemente wall with his honker. The drive hit high off the facade, dropped straight down, and took a nasty bounce right off his beak.
The post-game bump included half the team this evening, with Young sprinting in from right and Sanchez and Wilson joining in with Nyjer Morgan and McCutch. Morgan wasn't used to all the company and ended up sprawled on the outfield. Hey, it's nice to see the guys with a little life, like they really enjoy playing the game.
Young kept peeking over his shoulder during the FSN post-game interview to see if he would get splatted with a shaving cream pie from his teammates, ala Cutch. He didn't; we guess the guys were too busy practicing the bump for anyone to do the honors.
A Pirate fan reached over the railing to pull in a ball that was in play. Morgan chided him briefly, and all ended up well, as the umps, after a quick conference, kept the runner, pitcher Bruce Chen, on first. It didn't end up as well for the fan; he was escorted out of the park.
-- The Pirates are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Forbes Field. Did you know the 1909 Pirates of Honus Wagner were the first Pittsburgh team to win a world championship in sports when they beat the Tigers four games to three in the Series?
And they were the first Bucco squad to host a fireworks display, when the sky show was part of the victory parade. Wonder if that's how the Zambelli's got their start?
-- Still miss Doug Mientkiewicz?