Ya know, good teams are opportunistic; they make their own breaks by powering through their mistakes and taking full advantage of their opponent's miscues. The Rockies did both in this afternoon's 5-4 victory at Coors Field.
In the first, with a run in and the bases loaded, the Bucs couldn't bring another run home. After a walk and a hit batter, Steve Pearce bit on a first pitch in the dirt. He struck out swinging a few pitches later on another ankle-high slider.
The next batter, Robby Diaz, grounded out on the first offering. Can't anybody take a first strike when a pitcher is struggling? It would be the last real threat the Bucs would muster.
The Pirates went up 3-0 in the second on Freddy Sanchez's sixth homer. It didn't last long. With one out, Paul Maholm walked the eight hitter on five pitches. He was bunted over, and the next guy lined a single to Delwyn Young in left.
It crawled up his arm, he dropped it, and then lolligagged a throw to second. The next batter hit a pop up to Sanchez, who, without sunglasses, let it drop. The next batter doubled.
Now Maholm wasn't sharp today, but between walking the eight man and missing a pop fly, the Rox got two or three runs giftwrapped in an eventual one-run game.
They had a last chance in the fifth, when Andy LaRoche led off with a single but was thrown out by a large margin trying to stretch it. Three hits, a walk, and a Rox error would result in just one run for Pittsburgh, and that on a two-out pinch hit by Brandon Moss.
The Rox had their moments, too. They set up the Pirates' final run with a bad pickoff throw, and had two guys thrown out stealing on the same play in the fifth. Good teams can take advantage of gifts; bad team can't. That's today's storyline.
The Bucs come home to take on the Indians, starting Tuesday. The pitching matchups are provided by MLB.com.
-- GW is wondering what the Bucs are gonna do with Steve Pearce. He spent the year at first base while first baseman Garrett Jones went to the OF at Indy. Pearce is the only pure RH OF alternative, though we think he'll probably see some time giving Adam LaRoche a blow against lefties, with Delwyn Young in right.
Still, we don't see many at-bats coming his way unless/until LaRoche is moved.
-- RHP Brad Lincoln was bumped up to Indy. The fourth overall selection of the 2006 draft was 1-5, with a 2.28 ERA. Don't let the record fool you. In 75 innings, he gave up 63 hits and 18 walks for a WHIP of 1.08, while striking out 65.
-- Top pick Tony Sanchez came through with a game-winning, ninth-inning single in his second play-for-pay at-bat to give the State College Spikes a 4-3 win. He just arrived in the morning, and entered the game in the sixth inning. Sanchez went 1-for-2.
It was also the opening act for RHP Quinton Miller, 19, who was drafted 20th last year from Shawnee (NJ) HS, and got the highest second day bonus of the draft, $900K. He didn't sign until mid-August, and spent his time at Pirate City last year. He went four innings, giving up 5 hits, two runs, and striking out a pair.