Hey, they got the game going in between the storm fronts, and the Bucs seemed appreciative as they jumped off to a quick 1-0 lead. Andrew McCutchen led off with a double, Neil Walker dropped a parachute into left to put runners on the corners, and Ryan Doumit brought McClutch home with a sac fly.
After wasting a Lastings Milledge double in the second, the Pirates went progressive in the third. McCutchen doubled, Walker tripled, and Doumit drilled one into the cheap seats in right for his sixth homer. And Todd Wellemeyer was lucky to escape without the inning becoming a total blowout.
Garrett Jones and Delwyn Young followed with singles, but Andy LaRoche rolled into an easy 4-6-3 DP. Two walks loaded the sacks, but Paul Maholm bounced into a force play, making the third out for the second straight inning.
McCutchen found the seats to lead off the fifth, and after a four-pitch Walker base on ball, Wellemeyer headed for the showers. In three innings, he gave up six runs on nine hits, along with three walks and two strikeouts.
Ol' Bucco Denny Bautista came on and wild-pitched Walker to second before giving up a double to Doumit, making it 6-0 after four.
The G-Men finally got to Maholm in the sixth, when Andres Torres led off with a two-base gapper and Freddy Sanchez doubled him in. Two soft groundouts later, the Giants small-balled Steady Freddy home, and it was 6-2.
An inning later, Maholm got the hook. He was starting to fall behind hitters, and after a line-out and Buster Posey double, JR wasn't going to play around; Evan Meek finished off the Giants in the seventh. Maholm went 6-1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits (four doubles) with a strikeout.
Hanrahan did his part in the eighth, and JR brought in Octavia Dotel to get some work; he's been off for a bit between the rain and yesterday's loss. And he sure had a lot of rust to knock off.
He walked the first hitter and then whiffed the next pair. Then came the drama. A bloop single, another walk, and a ground ball single made it 6-3 and the bases were juiced for Freddy Sanchez, who already had a pair of hits and whose only out was a liner.
Sanchez roped the first pitch deep to left center, and it ran away from Milledge, who made things worse by taking a bad route to the bullet. But he made a last second dive, sliding into the 383 mark of the wall, and came up with the ball in his web.
The 36,687 Skyblast fans let out a collective sigh, and sat back in their seats for the band. And hey, how often do you get to see fireworks before and after the show?
Ross Ohlendorf and Tim Lincecum will square off for tomorrow afternoon's get-away game.
-- The beat guys are reporting that Ryan Doumit has been taking balls at first base for the past couple of afternoons, ostentatiously to keep his bat in the lineup during non-catching days. We have to wonder if the effort to show some versatility is to increase his value to the team - or the trade market? After all, how many first basemen can a team carry?
-- Jack Moore of Fangraphs takes a look at the NL Central. He believes it's now a two-horse race.
-- Brad Lincoln made this week's Baseball America Prospects Hot Sheet. They write "...it does appear he's just about ready to make his debut in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates' starting staff, outside of Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf, has given the pitching profession a bad name."
-- But before you get carried away, Matt Eddy, when asked about Brad's potential as a #2 starter in the Baseball America Hot Sheet Chat said "Lincoln's ceiling? I think more along the lines of No. 4 starter or a power reliever, because he'd have better velo(city) out of the pen."
-- The Altoona Curve have the best record in professional baseball going into tonight with a record of 37-18. They're winners of 15 of the last 17. Maybe help is on the distant horizon.