Dan Haren and Charlie Morton mixing it up in the Arizona heat. Sounds like the makings of a tight, well-pitched ballgame, right? Wrong. The Bucs lost 11-4.
Neither guy had command of their stuff, both falling behind constantly on hitters. After the fifth, it was 4-4, and both hurlers were in the shower, Morton after 4-2/3 innings and 102 pitches, and Haren after five frames and 98 tosses.
With both gone, the game became a battle of the bullpens, and the D-Backs have one of MLB's worse while the Pirate pen is in the top five. Good for the Bucs, right? Wrong again.
Jeff Karstens struggled to get four outs, but he did without any further damage. The same can't be said of Evan Meek and John Grabow. Meek gave up a run and had a runner on second with two away, and JR called for Grabow.
He took the hill and promptly poured gas over the fire, giving up a single for a run, a walk, and a three run homer. Donnie Veal came in to get whacked around a little in the eighth, giving up two runs on a homer and a couple of walks.
In fact, the Pirates walked eight last night, and even added a passed ball - on a pitchout! Morton threw Ryan Doumit a breaking ball, and it ticked off his mitt. The staff also gave up three long balls. They've surrendered 18 runs in the past two games, just as the Pirate attack looked like it was putting it together.
It would be hard to convince Pittsburgh hitters that the D-Back pen doesn't have it; they retired all twelve batters they faced after Haren made his early exit.
Hey, at least the AC was on last night. It was over 100 outside, but a cool 82 with the Chase Field roof shut. Let's hope AC blasting or not that the Pirates can put a little heat on Arizona. These are the kind of series they have to learn to win.