Hey, we all know what payback is...and Charlie Morton got some sweet revenge on the Cubbies in the opening match of a day-night doubleheader.
He zippo'd the Windy City nine 4-0, spinning a four hitter - and two didn't leave the infield - striking out eight, walking three and drilling a pair. Last time he took the hill at Wrigley, he was rocked for a 10-spot in an inning. And no, he wasn't yanked; unlike Zach Duke, he had the good sense to keep his shutout intact.
Morton went from the worst outing of his young career to his best; today was his first shutout and first complete game. It helped that he was pitching against a lineup without Derrek Lee or Aramis Ramirez this time around.
All the action was in the first, when the Bucs jumped ahead 4-0 on a RBI bouncer by Steve Pearce, a two-run double by Jason Jaramillo, and a knock up the middle by Brian Bixler.
The key play of the frame was a hard slide by Lastings Milledge, who came in high and wide to break up a possible DP, keeping the inning alive. He may have gotten barked at by the Cubbies and boo-birded by the fans, but hey, that hustle earned Pittsburgh the W.
Milledge was supposed to be a head case when the Pirates got him, and he's still a few tools short of a complete kit, but one thing he has done consistently is play each and every game hard.
Morton showed the Cubs that he was ready this time around when he followed that outburst by striking out the side in the opening inning.
And a performance like Morton's was just on time, not only for his personal psyche, but saving the bullpen with the pitcher-by-committee lineup due for the Pirates in the nightcap.
-- JR said that there's a chance that Ronny Cedeno may be done for the season because of his achy hammy. That's not a good way to end the campaign for a guy that's looking to earn an everyday spot. Luis Cruz isn't threatening him, but...
...Cedeno could be leaving the door slightly ajar for Brian Friday to make a mid-season appearance in 2010, or for the Bucs to look for another option outside the organization during the winter.
-- GW's take on the Miguel Sano deal: Agent Rob Plummer sure seems like he aims to be the Scott Boras of the Domincan. He said he was gonna get Sano the biggest bonus ever paid to Island position player, and he did. Plummer also violated the first rule of representation - don't take it personally. He cut the Bucs out, and cost his client a shot at a few more pesos by not starting a small bidding war.
However, all this moaning about the po' stood-up-at-the-altar Buccos is misplaced, too. They almost lost Pedro because they negotiated publicly, bypassed the agent, and took it personally themselves, the same template they applied to Sano.
Someone has to be the grownup in these deals. We just hope that eventually, the Latino kids become draft-eligible. And we'll be checking out the box scores in four or five years to see if Rene Gayo was right about Sano's talent.