If there are two lineups with less ability to go long than tonight's Pirates and Reds, well, it'd probably be in a whiffle ball league.
But the Bucs rode a pair of homers - a three run shot by Garrett Jones and a solo liner by Lastings Milledge - to a 5-2 win over Cincy tonight. Maybe they channeled Pops and Bill Robinson while decked out in the gold and black of the 1979 champions.
Charlie Morton continued his schizophrenic ways this evening. He was untouchable in the first, striking out a pair and finishing the inning with a mere nine pitches.
He ran through the raindrops in the next three, stranding five runners, and cruised through the fifth and sixth. Then Morton left with one out in the seventh with two aboard. In 6-1/3 frames, he gave up two runs on six hits and walked three, with three Ks.
Jesse Chavez, Joel Hanrahan, and Matt Capps mopped up, and none of them had a clean inning. But they put up goose eggs, and that's what counts. When the night was over, the Reds had stranded ten runners and were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
The Pirates had all of five hits, and none after the fifth inning. But thanks to the long ball, they stranded just one runner all night. In justice, the Bucs centered up the ball pretty well against Micah Owings, scoring all five runs off him. Heck, half the outs Owing's got were roped.
But every so often, the baseball gods gotta throw a team a crumb. So it's four in a row, and the Bucs are now half a game from escaping the cellar.
-- LHP Phil Dumatrait is not going on waivers; he's coming back tonight. He'll have some breathing room on the 25-man roster as Jeff Karstens goes on leave to be with his ill grandma for a few days; he's expected back Tuesday. Evan Meek was moved from the 15 to 60-day DL with his oblique injury to clear a spot on the 40-man for Dumatrait.
-- Some weird scheduling: the Pirates play the Reds seven times in the next 13 days; they haven't played each other since early May. The teams have 13 games remaining against each other to duke it out for the bottom spot in the Central Division.
-- Tom Boswell of the Washington Post just loves Nyjer Morgan. He calls him the second coming of Juan Pierre, back when Pierre was da bomb.