Monday, April 25, 2011

Bucs Rain on Nat's Parade 4-2

Oooops - the Nat's turned the tables on the Pirates tonight. Instead of Pittsburgh sprinting to a lead out of the box as has been their MO lately, Washington laid a two-run frame on the Pirates.

With one away, Ian Desmond singled up the middle and Jayson Werth followed with a double to right. Adam LaRoche singled them home (funny, we don't remember him being Mr. April in Pittsburgh) and the Nats were off to a quick 2-0 lead.

The game moved along quietly for a couple of frames; Maholm worked out of a two-on situation in the third, and during the Bucs at-bat Michael Morse robbed Chris Snyder of a homer. In the bottom of the fourth, the rain and the Bucs both struck.

A one-out walk to Jose Tabata turned into a run after a ground out and a Neil Walker single into right. Jayson Werth threw Walker's ball away after slipping, allowing the Pittsburgh Kid to go to third and Tabata to score. Then the umps called out the grounds crew to cover the field.

Steve Pearce walked after the tarps were rolled up, and Brandon Wood drilled a two-bagger to right center off the Xfinity sign, plating a pair. A Chris Snyder single to left brought home Wood, and it was 4-2 Buccos.

Whether the 20 minute delay got to Lannan, the equivalent of sitting a half inning, we'll never know (we credit the two walks, both of which scored), but the weather gods were good to the Pirates for a change.

Maholm would go seven for the Pirates, and it was one of his stronger efforts (the long rest on the bench during the fourth inning didn't seem to bother the vet). He gave up two runs on four hits, walked a pair and whiffed eight on 99 pitches before handing the ball off to Evan Meek, who had a 1-2-3 inning.

Joel Hanrahan came on in the ninth, and walked the first hitter, Werth, to break a skein of 16 straight Nats retired. He got the next two, then Wilson Ramos lined a single to left to put runners on the corners. But Hanny had something left in the tank; throwing 98-99 MPH heat, he got Ricky Ankiel looking, and the Jolly Roger fluttered in the North Shore breeze.

It was Hanrahan's sixth save, and Maholm finally got off the schneid with his first W of the season while lowering his ERA to 3.90. He's pitched better than his 1-3 record, but so far has been this year's non-support victim.

The Giants and Freddy Sanchez will be in town tomorrow. Charlie Morton will go against Matt Cain.

-- The Bucs had only six hits, the Nats just five, and bunched their scoring. The Pirate advantage was the two walks that scored in the fourth, which so often turn into game-breakers.

-- If you're into individual battles, Wood went 1-for-4 and Ronny Cedeno wore the collar; neither is threatening to break the Mendoza line.

-- John Bowker smacked his fourth hit of the year today. All have been off the bench as he looks like he's learning to focus on his pinch-hitter's job, a role he's encountered problems handling in the past.

-- The Bucs drew 12,457 fans tonight, and most masqueraded as empty seats. The weather - and Penguins - continue to dampen the draw.

-- Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror tweets that "Pirates RHP prospect Bryan Morris skipped his start tonight with strained left oblique. Listed as day to day." An oblique injury can shut you down for awhile. It'd be nice to see Morris get through a season in one piece.

-- Jen Langosch of said that 2010 first round pick Jameson Taillon will have his coming out party Wednesday when he takes the hill for West Virginia against Hagerstown.

-- Baseball America staged a mock draft of sorts, and agreed that Anthony Rendon looks like the man. But as usual, the gang threw in the disclaimer that "...the top two guys (Rendon and Gerrit Cole) are neck and neck."

-- The Giants rotation aginst the Bucs will be Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong. No Tim Lincecum, which is always a good thing.

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