Jeff Karstens' second outing didn't have near the panache of his first; LA scored six times in five innings on eleven hits, including five extra-base knocks. Brian Bass and Joel Hanrahan added a little gas to the fire, and despite some ninth-inning lumber, the Bucs fell 9-3 to Big Blue.
The hitting, as happens maddeningly often, mirrored the ineffective pitching. The Pirates only had five hits and a run in eight innings off of Hiroki Kurada before waking up in the final frame. They scored twice on three hits, and the game ended with a Jeff Clement blast with two aboard that was run down at the wall.
For all the drama of the 10-game road trip, the Bucs ended up 3-7. They still haven't figured out how to win away from PNC. The Pirates are hoping to enjoy some home cooking starting Tuesday, when they begin a nine day stand against the Cubs, Cards, and Reds.
-- The pitcher is batting ninth today for the first time this season; no word as to the why of that lineup change, but Jen Langosch in her MLB.com blog suggests that it's because McCutchen is batting third and doesn't need an added hitter ahead of him now. (EDIT - in her post game notes, Langosch said JR didn't think today's lineup lent itself to that configuration.)
-- Andrew McCutchen twisted his ankle when he stepped on the pitcher's foot trying to leg out an infield hit, suffering a sprain. It's not thought to be serious...famous last words, hey? Oddly, they put Ryan Church in center when JR took him out in the sixth rather than Lastings Milledge. Where are you, John Raynor?
-- Octavio Dotel is back in Pittsburgh because his wife is about to give birth. Good luck and congratulations! Evan Meek or Joel Hanrahan will do the honors in his absence.
-- If you're wondering where Brendan Donnelly has been, he's been out with soreness in his left side; he's still being evaluated as to whether he should go on the DL or not. Donnelly was out of action for the LA series.
-- Altoona handed Stephen Strasburg the first loss of his pro career today, winning 6-1. Justin Wilson started, going four innings, and allowed one run on four hits. Righties Michael Dubee and Ronald Uviedo retired the next fifteen batters, pitching five frames of perfect ball.