Beautiful day and auspicious beginning. Not only did AJ Burnett toss a scoreless opening frame, but the Bucs jumped on top, two things missing in the recent misery of the home stand. The first LA excitement came to start the second when Matt Kemp charged ump Angel Campos from the dugout after a mutual exchange of woofing, and was finally dragged back to the locker room like a hippy in 1968 Chicago by his teammates. He and Don Mattingly got the hot water early for their efforts; apparently they had issues with the strike zone (as did everyone, pitchers and hitters, all game, but hey...)
Starling Marte blazed out an infield knock to third to open the frame. After a forceout and a 3-2 walk to Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones launched a drive over the right center wall on a 3-2 change up to make it 3-0 against Joe Blanton.
James Loney got a run back in the second with a two down long fly to right center on a first pitch heater. The game went along quietly until the fourth when LA roared. Mark Ellis started it off with a ground rule double to left and came in when Pedro tossed away Elian Herrera's weak roller. It got considerably worse when an out later, Hanley Ramirez knocked a first pitch fastball over the fence to make it 4-3 Blue. He earned AJ's displeasure twice by making a little gesture that looked suspiciously like a half baked Zoltan during his home run trot.
The Bucs came back to tie the game when Rod Barajas drew a four pitch walk followed by Clint Barnes gap busting triple to center. Hot Rod lumbered home (actually, he got from first to third OK before hitting a wall during the final leg) and barely beat the tag, sliding home more out of exhaustion than desire, to make it a 4-4 contest. It was the Bucs turn to counterpunch in the fifth.
Jordy Mercer lined a single to right center to open the inning, and Cutch drew a 3-2 free pass. Blanton fed GI some 0-2 gas and he dropped it over the wall again to put Pittsburgh up 7-4, answering a curtain call by the fans. After an out, the daylight lovin' Pedro drilled a curve out of the yard into the CF shrubbery, and it was 8-4. Oh, and Angel tossed out Blanton after he was removed from the game and veered from the dugout toward the beleaguered ump.
AJ put away the Dodgers in the sixth 1-2-3, striking out Ramirez looking and then telling him to "Sit the (bleep) down" after H-Ram flipped the bat and glared at Angel. Never believe that pitchers have short memories or long fuses; AJ and the Dodgers were bantering all afternoon.
LA made it way too interesting in the seventh. Loney singled to center to start the inning and an out later, AJ Ellis bounced one through the hole. With two away, AJ clipped Shane Victorino, who looked much he ducked into the pitch. Mark Ellis hit a ball up the middle that Burnett deflected toward deep first, and Gaby Sanchez lost the race to the bag as a run scored. Juan Rivera was the beneficiary of a phantom hit batsman when Campos ruled an AJ pitch brushed his pant leg, surprising even Rivera. with the bases juiced and Andre Ethier up, Clint Hurdle called for Tony Watson. Tony the Tiger got him on a roller to third, and it was 8-6.
With Jamie Wright on the hill, Cutch led off with a single to center, but was picked off first after just beating a couple of prior close calls. GI laid off a 3-2 hook to walk and was forced out by Sanchez. Pedro and Hot Rod had back-to-back singles to load the sacks, and Barmes completed the two out lightning strike by singling home a pair on a liner to left.
Jason Grilli and Hanny made the lead hold up, helped by nice grabs by Cutch and Gaby, and the Bucs snapped a three game skid with a 10-6 win before heading off to yet another big series with the Cardinals.
Jones had 6 RBI, Barmes added three more, and it was a nice finish to a dismal home stretch. The pitching wasn't all that by AJ, but it was good enough. Take a breath, Bucco fans; life still goes on as a contender. Oh, and you handful of Blue fans, put down the brooms; it's unbecoming to bring them into someone else's house.
It's James McDonald against Jake Westbrook tomorrow night in St. Louis.
- AJ became the Pirates' first 15-game winner since Todd Ritchie in 1999, and the first of the PNC Park era.
- Garrett Jones joined Cutch, Pedro and The Kid to form the second NL team with a quartet of men who have driven in 60+ runs. They were beaten to that mark yesterday by the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, David Freese and Allen Craig. It should be interesting times comin' up at Busch Stadium.
- GI Jones had his fourth multi-homer game and a career game high of six RBI.
- Pedro's homer was his first since July 22nd.
- Walker's dislocated pinky had no structural damage. Now it's just a matter of the swelling subsiding and regaining strength enough to grip a bat.
- We've criticized Clint Hurdle for using Travis Snider to pinch hit while he's got a sore hammy, but the skipper told the media after the game that playing in the field will aggravate it, not hitting. Um, don't you still have to run if you're on base?
- The afternoon draw attracted 25,073 fans.