Another Sunday in the ballyard, and the Bucs drew first blood today. Garrett Jones lined a lead-off homer into the right field stands in the second to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead, and it wasn't even the best hit ball of the inning. Ryan Church drove a ball 400 feet plus, but to straightaway center, 420' away, for a loud out.
Jones picked up another RBI in the fourth, when he drove in Andrew McCutchen with a double that one-hopped the right field fence. McCutch had legged out an infield single to lead off the frame, and got to second on a balk call. But par for the course, Jones died at second.
It took seven inngs for the Tigers to get on the board, when Alex Avila took a two-out fastball that tailed over the plate over the 420' mark in center, making it 2-1.
Over the first seven frames, Armando Galarrago and Karstens put on a clinic for soft throwers, mixing speeds and locations while avoiding the heart of the plate, giving up the occasional knock and hard hit ball, but getting a bushelful of routine outs.
Galarraga left with two out in the eighth after another infield single by McCutch; Jimmy Leyland didn't want him to face Jones again. His line was 7-2/3 innings, two runs, six hits, and one walk; he didn't whiff a batter. (The last starter to go six innings or better without recording a K against the Pirates was the Reds' Homer Bailey in September of 2009).
Lefty Brad Thomas came in to match up against Jones, and made Leyland look like a genius when Jones tapped out to second to end the inning.
Carlos Guillen led off with an infield single, knocked down by Walker who couldn't get a good throw away, and JR called on DJ Carrasco to carry on in the eighth. Karstens left with 7 innings to his credit, with two runs given up on six hits, a walk, and three K's.
Two outs and a wild pitch later, JR called on Javier Lopez to go lefty-to-lefty against Johnny Damon, who had a pair of hits and a walk on the day. JR didn't look as smart as Leyland; Lopez walked Damon on five pitches, bringing up the dangerous Miguel Cabrera.
JR called on the big dawg, Octavio Dotel, to face Cabrera; they have a history. Dotel struck him out seven of the eleven times they've met. But not this time. He took a heater into the seats, and just like that the fat lady switched sides.
An infield single, a two-out walk...little things again.
The Pirates added a ninth inning run on a Dewey double, a bounce out, and a Delwyn Young sac fly just short of the track, but whether you lose by one or lose by a dozen, you still lose, this time by a 4-3 count.
It's sorta ironic that the two LOOGY's, each in for one hitter, ended up with the decisions; Thomas won for getting Jones to ground out, and Lopez took the loss for walking Damon.
For Pittsburgh, it was a season-high eighth loss in a row. They're off tomorrow, and Brad Lincoln will take on Freddy Garcia and the White Sox at PNC Tuesday.
-- Making his second rehab start at Indy, Charlie Morton went six innings and gave up three runs on seven hits, K'd six and walked one, losing 3-2 to Scranton/Wilkes Barre. He lost to Tim Redding, who's been around the block a few times himself.
-- Bradenton Marauder OF prospect Quincy Latimore had a big day in Saturday's Florida State League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. After finishing second in the Derby, the fourth-round pick from the 2007 draft went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base while hitting leadoff for the FSL South All-Stars. His South team won in ten innings 5-4; Lattimore scored the winning run.
Lefty Jeff Locke struck out one in a perfect inning of relief and teammate Noah Krol added a scoreless inning, allowing one walk.
-- A number of sources have already leaked word that the Pirates expect contract negotiations with their two top picks, pitchers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie, to go to the wire, ala Pedro. Too bad; it would be nice to get the guys in the system, like they did with Tony Sanchez.
-- FSN announcer and old Bucco John Wehner felt right at home in Detroit. The Tiger dugout held all three of his old MLB skippers - Jimmy Leyland, Gene LaMont, and Lloyd McClendon. Leyland coached him at Pittsburgh and Florida, while LaMont and McClendon had him at the end of his Bucco career.
The Rock played eleven seasons in the show, from 1991-2001.