Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bucs Bop

"Take Me To The River..." was a big hit for Al Green and the Talking Heads, but if you're talkin' the Allegheny, it's an even bigger hit for the Pirates. The Bucs ran their PNC Park record to 8-4 and 13-15 overall with an 11-1 waxing of the Chicago Cubs.

Randy Wells, who had walked five guys all year, issued free passes to the Pirates' first two hitters, Aki Iwamura and Andy LaRoche, on eight pitches. Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones singled them in, and Ryan Doumit and Lastings Milledge doubled in three more, making 5-0 before the beer got warm.

Brian Burres, the lefty who is cementing his position as the Bucs' number five starter, filled the dish with strikes after being staked to the big lead. He went seven innings of three hit, shutout ball, walking three and striking out four. Burres threw 99 pitches, 58 of which were strikes, and raised his record to 2-1 while dropping his ERA to 4.09.

The Bucco attack wasn't overpowering - they only had nine hits - but was opportunistic, taking advantage of seven Cub walks and three errors. The middle of the order really was clutch tonight, with Milledge collecting four RBI, Jones three, and Doumit a pair. The 1-2-3 hitters, Iwamura, LaRoche, and McCutchen, touched home seven times.

Hey, we even had a moment of hilarity in the fourth frame. With the bases juiced, Milledge lined a shot towards the Milledge People section in left. He raised his arm rounding first, Tim Neverett called it a home run on FSN, and the fireworks went off.

The only problem was that it didn't quite carry and hit the top padding, the ball still in play. Milledge was tagged out trotting between second and third. The Pirate kangaroo court will be in session tonight.

But the Bucs are washing away the bad taste of the recent road trip, primed by some solid pitching which was a long time coming. It's the first time they've broomed the Cubbies since 2006, and they're 8-7 in the division.

And the pitching best remain sharp. The Cards come into town tomorrow, and will send Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, and Brad Penny to the hill. The Pirates will counter with Zach Duke, Jeff Karstens, and Paul Maholm.

-- If everything goes well with Ross Ohlendorf's side session, he's penciled to go against the Reds Monday. But he admits he's still not 100%, so if he's still tight, Ohlie may get one more rehab start.

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