Monday, August 23, 2010

Redbirds Romp

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse...Ohlie walked the first batter after getting ahead 1-2, and Jon Jay dropped a soft hooking liner just past Neil Walker on a hit-and-run that was a half step from being a DP. It put runners on the corners for Albert Pujols.

And that's the good news; the bad was that Ohlendorf left the game after that hit, apparently with shoulder problems (later reported as soreness and tightness), bringing on the ice-cold Sean Gallagher to clean up the messy start.

His first pitch was a hanging slider, and Sir Albert deposited it over the center field wall into the Bucco bullpen, his 33rd homer of the campaign. Oh, mama.

Matt Holliday drilled a double into right center, and Felipe Lopez walked after falling behind 0-2. Yadier Molina rolled a single through the shortstop hole - Ronny Cedeno was shaded toward second, jockeying with the runner - to score another run. But a liner to left, deep fly to center, and a bouncer to short ended the carnage and brought the Bucs to the dish.

McCutch just missed a fastball, skying out to center. Jose Tabata singled on a little looper to right, and stole second. neil Walker, continuing to hit with hard luck, launched on to straightaway center that fell a step short of the wall.

Garrett Jones pulled an outside change and rolled it to second to end the inning; when he was going good, he'd take that ball to left. But he's in a 2-for-20 slump, and he's not going good.

Nor was Gallagher. Ahead of Skip Schumaker 0-2, he ran the count full and gave up a single to left. But he started finding the plate, and got a fly ball, a K of Pujols, and a pop out. Dewey doubled with one out for Pittsburgh - he was in for Snyder - but was stranded.

SG found his rhythm after his emergency call to the hill; he 1-2-3'ed the Redbirds in the third. JT got a two-out infield single; like Dewey, he didn't move any further. Lohse is giving up some impressive fouls, but the Bucs aren't having much luck between the lines. A little luck and changing speeds will do that.

Gallagher was loose; another clean inning gave him a streak of nine Cards in a row. Now if the bats can only put a dent in Lohse. But all Pittsburgh could do in the fourth was get their obligatory runner aboard when Pedro walked; he went no further.

After an out, Gallagher's tank hit empty. Pujols flicked an outside pitch up the right field line; it dropped fair for a double. Holliday rolled a ground ball single into left, and Tabata's throw was late as Sir Albert scored. A walk brought Chan Ho Park and Chris Snyder in a double switch; bye-bye Thrilledge.

Park gave up a quick double to Molina; it was just under a diving Pedro and apparently caught the corner of the bag on its way by. He got a ground out with the infield in, and then walked the eight hitter to load the bases and get to Lohse. Park nailed Lohse on a little dink fly to right. He also uncorked a wild pitch to let in a seventh run. Park gets clocked, and Gallagher gets charged with the runs.

But hey, the Bucs got a leadoff hit from Cedeno.; he at least made it to second before the Pirates were sat down. Park got out of the sixth with just a walk and single charged against him.

In the sixth, the Bucs finally got on the board. Walker tripled off the Clemente Wall, and Jones followed with a River Walk shot. Lohse got Pedro to ground out, but walked Dewey and got sent to the showers.

Andy LaRoche came up to face Mitchell Boggs. LaRoche lined out to center, and Jay made a sliding catch of Cedeno's ball in the right center field gap to close the inning. Hit 'em where they ain't is not part of the Pirate creed.

Wil Ledezema took over in the seventh. With one out, he gave up a line single and double off the Clemente Wall to put runners at second and third. He fielded a dribbler and went home; Snyder didn't block the far side of the plate as he reached for the ball and the runner, Pedro Feliz, sneaked in the back door, leaving runners on the corners.

The next hitter bounced one to Pedro; this time they made they play at home. But it was 8-2 now; sometimes you wish baseball were played with a clock. The Bucs went down quietly in the seventh; the exception being JT, who hit a two-out single for his third knock of the night.

Justin Thomas made his entrance; good timing for his call-up today. He got the meat of the Card order 1-2-3 with a pair of flies and a whiff. Trever Miller retired the Pirates routinely as he mopped up in the eighth.

Thomas had a rough start to the ninth. Molina singled of DY's glove - he's at second now - and he walked the 7-8 hitters. A short fly and come-backer gave him a hope of keeping his ERA intact, but a two-out single by Jay and another by Bryan Anderson (who pinch hit for Pujols; ironic, no?) made it 10-2 before the Pirates' curtain call.

DY took the first bow by doubling to center against Mike MacDougal. That was the highlight; two K's and a short fly to right put the game to bed.

Pujols, Holliday and Molina were 8-for-16 with fours runs scored and six RBI. The Pirates were 8-for-35 with two runs scored and two RBI. That about sums up tonight's game.

Paul Maholm and Adam Wainwright will take the hill tomorrow night.

-- Jeff Clement has hit the DL. He's on the 15-day list with an "irritated" knee. LHP Justin Thomas was called up to take his spot. They couldn't find enough at-bats to keep Clement sharp; maybe that's the irritation.

-- How important is a quality start? When Pirate pitchers go 6+ innings, the team is 30-39; when they get the hook before six frames, the record drops to 11-45.

-- Jim Callis of Baseball America has released his Top Ten Pirate Prospects list, including the recent signees. Three just joined the team, and none of the rest are above the AA level.

-- Lotta noise being made about the Bucs opening their books, but there's nothing really newsworthy in the figures; dunno why they bothered to hide the numbers. The only thing we can imply from it all is that Bob Nutting may be angling to get more of the ownership pie by freezing the money to the minority owners, and that's about it.

No comments: