Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fireworks Night

In the first, J-Mac looked like his spotty control was finally going to cost him; he walked the second and third batters. But his best friend, a 4-6-3 DP, made everything right. Barry Enright walked McCutch to start the Bucco half; he was erased stealing.

Adam LaRoche touched J-Mac up for a leadoff double in the second, and was stranded there. Dewey drew a one-out walk; he was cleaned up on a John Bowker 4-6-3 DP.

In the third, an error and a walk had McDonald in a jam again, and again, he worked out of it. The D-Backs were hitting 0-for-5 with RISP after three frames, a Pirate-esque figure. And J-Mac had already thrown 63 pitches to wriggle out of trouble so far.

Chris Snyder singled with one out, and McDonald struck out trying to bunt. It didn't hurt the cause; McCutch slammed his fifteenth homer into the visitor's bullpen. JT followed with a double, but Neil Walker grounded out to end the inning.

A ghost of the past, Ryan Church, doubled the opposite way to open the fourth. With two outs, pitcher Enright brought him home with liner to center, ending J-Mac's scoreless streak at 20 straight innings.

Pedro led off with a walk - that's seven between Enright and McDonald so far - and it proved costly after Bowker smacked his fourth long fly of the season, first as a Buc, to center. With two away, Snyder singled and went to third when McDonald doubled to left, his first MLB hit.

That was it for Enright; Zack Kroenke came on to face McCutch. Kroenke, a lefty, walked McCutchen to load the sacks. Then he walked JT; easiest RBI he ever got. Walker singled in two more when Church broke the wrong way on his soft liner. Kroenke finally got to face a lefty, El Toro, and whiffed him. But it was a huge inning; Pittsburgh was up 7-1 when the smoke cleared.

Make that 7-2; Kelly Johnson led off with a dinger to center. But J-Mac wasn't going to let an easy one get away; he K'ed the next two batters and got LaRoche on a deep fly to straightaway center. He got his five innings in; with 101 pitches thrown, it's not likely that he'll get any more.

Leo Rosales took the hill for Arizona. Ryan Doumit started off with a single to right. Bowker doubled into the RF corner to put runners on second and third. Ronny Cedeno hit a sac fly; it was deep enough score Dewey and to move Bowker to third. Snyder collected his third hit, a single into left, and it was 9-2.

Brandon Moss came up to bat for J-Mac and struck out swinging; McCutch flew out to the track in right center. D-Mac climbed the hill to replace J-Mac. With one out he gave up a double; with two away, the D-Backs eked out a swinging bunt single to put runners on the corners. Stephen Drew flew out; getting every other batter worked out just fine.

Jordan Norberto took his turn in the sixth, and threw the first 1-2-3 inning of the game, although it took him 11 pitches to get Pedro to fly out 390' away in front of the Notch.

D-Mac didn't have the same luck; he gave up back-to-back leadoff ground ball singles. He came back to strike out the next two, and then watched Church pound a three-run homer, his fifth, over the right center field fence, 375' away. Wil Ledezema got the wave from JR, and struck out pinch hitter Rusty Ryal. 9-5 is a nice lead with six outs to go, but not insurmountable with Pittsburgh's pen.

Carlos Rosa joined the Arizona pitching parade in the seventh. He walked Dewey to start the Bucco half. Bowker collected a single, his third knock of the night, and Cedeno bunted them over. Snyder couldn't get it out the infield; it was drawn in, and DY flew out to center.

Chan Ho Park took the ball, and retired the D-Backs in order, recording a pair of K's. On trudged Sam Demel for Arizona. JT singled and The Pittsburgh Kid walked with one away, but Pedro squelched the rally with a 3-6-1 DP. Evan Meek came on to get the Fat Lady singing and fireworks crowd ready to party.

His heater hit 97. After a fly out, he walked Mark Reynolds, who stole second kinda; it was on defensive indifference. That was the fifth Pirate walk of the night; Arizona had given up seven. Meek got a ground out, but LaRoche kept the D-Backs alive with an RBI single up the middle. Church popped out, and the Jolly Roger waved for the second night in a row.

Hey, it wasn't pretty, and the bullpen was leaky, but how often do you get to see the Pirates bludgeon their way to victory? Let the fireworks begin!

Zach Duke takes on Daniel Hudson in tomorrow's matinee.

-- Jen Langosh of has a great piece on Lastings Milledge and what he considers his turnaround season.

-- Congrats to Altoona, the new Eastern League champs. The Curve defeated Trenton 5-2 on the road tonight, led by Tony Watson, who gave up two runs and struck out ten in six innings, and three RBI from the bat of Jim Negrych. Jared Hughes and Daniel Moskos threw three shutout innings to ice the game. It was Altoona's first championship in franchise history.

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