Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Inning Too Long

Ah, we'll make it short and sweet tonight. Paul Maholm pitched his best game in months - and it wasn't enough. The Bucs went down 4-1 in ten innings to Cole Hamels and a pair of Philly long balls by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Maholm went seven innings, giving up a run on five hits, the damage done by Utley's first inning homer. The 1-0 lead held up until the ninth, when Brandon Moss went long off the bench.

But in the tenth, the depleted Bucco bullpen sent Steve Jackson to work. He walked the first batter, gave up a single to the next after falling behind 3-1, and was yanked for Phil Dumatrait. The big lefty got an out, and then watched Howard launch one into the netherlands.

The Pirates had their chances; they stranded nine and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. But Hamels spotted his heater and threw his slider and change when he got in trouble, and it was more than enough to thwart the Pirate bats. The Baby Bucs just can't stay back on the off speed stuff.

But hey, they're holding their own against a bona-fide nine. The starting pitching has carried its part of the deal, but the bullpen is basically Jesse Chavez and Joel Hanrahan after the wheeling and dealing. And the team can't be blamed for that; that was decided by the suits.

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