Sunday, May 22, 2011

Buc Bats Silent For Maholm; Tigers Win 2-0

Hey, the clouds parted about noon; looks like another nice day for a ballgame; 25,124 fans agreed.

The first went quietly. But the early inning, bottom of the order bug-a-boo bit Paul Maholm again. With two outs and Victor Martinez on first, he gave up back-to-back knocks to the 7-8 hitters. Martinez beat Garrett Jones throw home with a backdoor slide to put the Tigers up 1-0.

The third was also quiet; Rick Porcello retired the first nine Bucs he faced. The Tigers put up another run in the fourth. Jhonny Peralta yanked a 3-2 heater that tailed back over the plate into the short deck in left.

The Bucs got their first runner aboard when McCutch walked. He stole second, moved to third with two away, and was stranded there as Neil Walker whiffed. PM retired Detroit quietly in the fifth. The Pirates went down in order; Lyle Overbay gave a ball a charge the opposite way, but it was run down at the track.

Miguel Cabrera took the first pitch up and away and smacked it off the Clemente Wall to open the sixth with a double. Peralto dropped a single into center an out later to put runners on the corners, and Clint Hurdle called for help from the bullpen.

The hard luck Maholm went 5-1/3 innings giving up two runs on six hits with a pair of walks and five Ks; at 96 pitches, he was near his limit. Chris Resop came on and did his job, K'ing Brandon Inge and getting out number three on a sliding McCutch grab.

The Bucs tried to conjure up the sixth inning magic once again. Ronny Cedeno started off with a double; he went to third when Xavier Paul, looking for a bunt single (we hope) couldn't push the ball past the pitcher. McCutch walked on four pitches, but Jose Tabata bounced into a tailor made 6-4-3 DP to sit the Bucs down.

Daniel McCutchen came on; Porcello dribbled a ball down the left side that turned into his third MLB hit, all against Pittsburgh at PNC Park. But DM got a routine fly and a pair of K's to freeze Porcello.

Sitting on first didn't bother Porcello; he retired the Bucs on eight pitches, one going to the warning track in center off the bat of Walker. Last night, it was Detroit's day to hit loud outs; it looks like Pittsburgh's turn today.

D-Mac put Motown away in order in the eighth; Porcello did the same to Pittsburgh.

Jose Ascanio opened the ninth; he went 3-2 on his two hitters. The first flew to center, the next walked. Lefty Andy Dirks stepped up to the plate, and that brought on Joe Beimel, who got him on a pop and Austin Jackson on a foul fly to Jones.

Leyland pulled Porcello, who threw a one-hitter with two walks and three K's, using only 86 pitches over eight frames. In came closer Jose Valverde. Paul singled to start the frame, and McCutch was plunked high in the arm. But Dewey whiffed, Jones and Walker grounded out to second, and the Tigers took home a win from Pittsburgh.

For as few baserunners as they had, the Pirates produced several opportunities. In the fourth, sixth and ninth innings they got the leadoff batter to second with no outs, but the clutch hit or productive outs just weren't in the offing today.

The Bucs lack of support behind Maholm is becoming biblical in its proportions; fourteen runs in ten starts. Today they didn't even get hits for him. Oh well, off tomorrow and then the Braves come to town.

-- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports in his notes column writes that the Rangers have made "low level inquiries" re: Joel Hanrahan. He adds the caveat that "If the Pirates were willing to trade Hanrahan at all, it would only be for a significant price." D'oh.

Rob Biertempfel of the Trib Review added in a tweet that "Yes, the Rangers have inquired about RP Joel Hanrahan. No, the Pirates are NOT actively shopping their closer."

-- Mike Crotta, currently on the DL, is in Florida but hasn't started throwing yet; his inflammation hasn't cleared up.

-- LHP Donnie Veal, on the comeback trail from TJ surgery, has been assigned to High A Bradenton to begin his road back.

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