As Dorothy said, "there's no place like home." And after a close-but-no-cigar brooming in LA, PNC and its home cooking was a welcome sight.
It didn't look to be that way at the git-go; Charlie Morton was smoked for a lead-off double, and a bunt and sac fly later, it was 1-0 Padres. It was the 98th run the opponents have scored against the Bucs in the first, easily the staffs' worst inning.
But the Bucs, thanks to Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Moss triples plus four walks, jumped on top in their half, 3-1, even if they did leave the sacks juiced (hey, it was Morton up with two outs, so we'll cut them some slack).
Morton, who has been bitten by the big inning blues, worked out of some early trouble. He left the bases juiced in the second when he struck out superpest David Eckstein.
Later, with runners on first and second and no outs in the fifth, facing the heart of the order, he wheedled a 3-6-1 DP from the bat of Adrian Gonzalez and caught Chase Headley looking at a big ol' hook.
The lanky righty took a seat after seven innings of very workmanlike pitching. He gave up one run on six hits with a walk, plunked batter, and four strikeouts. It was his longest outing since July 18th against the Giants and his second W as a Bucco.
The Pirates finally tacked on another tally in the seventh, when Ryan Doumit singled home McCutchen, and one more breathing room run scored in the following frame when McCutchen's sac fly to the 399' mark in center plated Neil Walker.
Jesse Chavez and Matt Capps finished the game off, and the Bucs raised the Jolly Roger in front of 26,178 fans, taking a 5-1 victory over San Diego.
-- Andy LaRoche was sick and became a late scratch from tonight's lineup, giving Neil Walker a rare start at the hot corner. Delwyn Young remains out with a sore back.
-- The good news keeps rollin' in. Chuck Finder of the Post Gazette reports that Joe Kerrigan is still up in the air regarding a return gig with the Buccos. The last count is four pitching coaches in four years; maybe it'll be 5-for-5 in 2010.
Kinda makes you wonder about "the plan" when two of the guys that are supposed to implement it, Kerrigan and Perry Hill, are showing their doubts.
-- Hot shot SS Miguel Angel Sano doesn't appear to be near a deal with any club, but ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. hears that the shortstop wants $3.2M, according to MLB Trade Rumors.