Jekyll and Hyde, that's who Daniel McCutchen emulated tonight. Young Daniel was down 2-0 after three batters when Adrian Gonzalez went yard on him. For the first three innings, he gave up three runs on seven hits, catching too much of the plate and elevating his pitches.
Then he settled in, and retired the next nine batters in a row, keeping the ball around the knees. It's kinda the MO of the three guys - McCutchen, Kevin Hart, and Charlie Morton - auditioning for the 2010 back end of the Pirate rotation; they only thing they do consistently is pitch inconsistently.
Anyway, the ball game took the usual Pirate turn. It was 3-2 in the eighth, with the Pittsburgh runs coming on a solo shot by Garrett Jones, his 20th and 16th with the sacks empty, and a wild pitch.
The bullpen let it get out of hand again, with a bit of role reversal. Phil Dumatrait threw a clean inning, and Jesse Chavez gave up a pair of homers to make it 6-2.
But the Padres gave those three runs back, thanks to some fast and loose fielding and a two-run double by Andrew McCutchen. The Bucs tied it in the ninth, loading the bases with nobody out and eventually plating a run on a slow roller by Ronny Cedeno.
It just prolonged the agony. After the Pirates' Neil Walker hit into a two-on DP in the tenth, Jeff Karstens, who has been absolutely brutal since his back injury, was lit up. The Bucs lost, 11-6, falling to 2-9 in extra-inning games.
Hey, six runs is an explosion for Pittsburgh. But when a team is 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and strand fourteen, well, you've wasted more than your fair share of opportunity. They were 3-for-31 with RISP this series, and the wretched results are due more to Bucco ineptitude than Padre pitching.
-- Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette has a piece on possible free agents the Pirates may be looking at - Ricky Ankiel, John Grabow, and Freddy Sanchez among them. All could help, but all have bridges to cross first.
Ankiel is represented by Scott Boras, Grabow is supposedly in talks to re-enlist with the Cubs and is a Type A free agent, and Sanchez already turned down a Buc offer, plus he's been banged up all year.
-- Just thinkin' out loud - if the Bucs aren't sold on Ronny Cedeno at short, word is that Milwaukee's JJ Hardy and Atlanta's Yunel Escobar will be on the market.
-- Delwyn Young broke an 0-for-27 streak when he lined a single into right in the sixth inning.
-- Hey, the Bucs, unlike most area businesses, have embraced the upcoming G-20 Summit, and landed their first big international fish. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will throw out the first pitch on Friday. Maybe he's part of the Pirates' world-wide scouting search for talent.
-- John Perrotto of Pirates Report has an article on former GM Ted Simmons, who first began the demolition of the team in 1992.
As Simmons told him "...it was either cut the payroll or watch the team move to Tampa Bay." The stress was so much that he suffered a heart attack in 1993 and had to retire.
-- Pedro is hitting .278 with 4 long balls and 11 RBI for the US in the World Cup after ten games. Brad Lincoln is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA, with two starts and 12-1/3 innings under his belt.
-- Old Bucco player and coach Dave Clark is the new skipper of the Houston Astros. He replaced Cecil Cooper, who the Astro suits let twist in the wind all summer before letting him go today.