Well, JR must of seen this one coming. McCutch and Dewey out, Milledge and Cedeno getting a blow on getaway day, and Ubaldo Jimenez pitching. And hey, it started off OK when Garrett Jones doubled home Jose Tabata for a quick 1-0 lead.
Paul Maholm picked a bad day to report to the hill, though. It seems like every time he strings together a couple of strong outings and gets his ERA in shape, he comes up with a clunker or two.
And we'd say that giving up eight runs in 5-1/3 innings on eleven hits with three walks and three K's while tossing 120 pitches and allowing more than half the runs after two were away is the textbook definition of a clunker. Hey, you didn't think the roadhouse blues were done being sung yet, did you?
Steve Jackson got to work up a sweat before his expected return to Indy. He went 1-2/3 frames, giving up a run on four hits.
Jimenez, against the afternoon rag-tags, went seven innings, giving up a run on four hits, three walks, and striking out six. The Bucs celebrated his departure when Neil Walker bopped his fifth homer with two away in the eighth and Tabata aboard off Rafael Bentacourt to make it 9-3.
Javier Lopez threw a clean eighth. Huston Street came on to close, just to check out his recovery from a shot he took a couple of days ago in the...well, don't ask, but it hurt. Pittsburgh went down in order, and headed to the airport. Maybe they'll have a better day against the TSA than they did against Jimenez.
The Bucs roll into St. Louis tomorrow night. Jeff Karstens matches up with the Cards' Chris Carpenter; it doesn't get easier.
-- JR was going to give Jose Tabata the day off so he didn't have to match up against a powerhouse righty until McCutch dropped out of the order. Doesn't look like JT needed much sympathy; he went 2-for-4 and scored twice. And anyway, how's a guy supposed to get better if you just save him for the cupcakes?
-- The Pirates' medicos checked on Ohlendorf every two hours last night - don't you hate when they do that? - and it appears that he didn't suffer a concussion. In fact, he may not miss a turn after being beaned by a Troy Tulowitzki liner.
-- Andrew McCutchen was penciled in to play today, but his shoulder was achy during batting practice. He was scratched from the lineup, and his status is day-to-day.
-- DJ Carrasco joined Octavio Dotel in saying he's fine with being traded to a contender. See what four months in a Pirate uniform does to a guy? They go from rah-rah to bye-bye.
-- Brendan Donnelly cleared waivers and was officially released by the team today. The club tried to trade the right-hander but found no takers.