Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stormy Outing For Duke

Man, if it rained pennies from heaven, Pittsburgh would be a foot deep in copper after this week. But as the latest storm slid south, the Bucs set up shop, and a little before ten, they actually played ball.

The game started predictably enough: Zach Duke gave up two hits in two innings, and had both erased on DPs. Jonathan Sanchez whiffed a pair in the first, and then went through a second inning that looked a lot like the kind of frame Pirate pitchers suffer through.

A walk to Ryan Doumit and a bloop single by Andy LaRoche put runners on first and second with two away and Duke at the dish. Sanchez blew a pair of heaters past the .059 hitter, and then tried to polish him off with a curve. Cute, but not very effective.

Duke hit a lazy one hopper to rookie phenom Buster Posey, a catcher playing first (sound familiar?), and it went through him for a run. A crushed double by Andrew McCutchen and line single by Neil Walker made it 4-0. All unearned runs, but hey, they still count. As the Gunner might say, a base on balls, a bloop, a boot, and a blast.

Duke ran into trouble in the fifth. A Freddy Sanchez double and Aubrey Huff single put runners on the corner, but he coaxed his third DP ball of the night. Good thing, too - Eli Whiteside had a twelve pitch at bat with two outs, and the last pitch left the yard.

It only got worse in the sixth. Sanchez collected his third hit, a spanked grounder that hopped past a diving LaRoche. Two outs later, Juan Uribe planted one in the hedges in center field, tying the game. Another infield single in the hole was followed by a Huff blast that cleared the stands and landed on the River Walk.

Duke took a seat after the inning, going six frames and giving uo six runs on ten hits with five K's. he yielded three two-out homers. And that's 13 runs in his past 11 innings. The Pirates, meanwhile, had 13 straight batters go down after Walker's second inning single.

LaRoche break the skein with a seventh inning single to left. Ronny Cedeno flew out to the track, and Aki Iwamura's pinch-hit walk stuck the fork in Sanchez. They got to second and third on a McCutchen chopper, but the Pittsburgh Kid whiffed on an outside 98 MPH heater from Santiago Casilla.

The bullpens ruled, and Brian Wilson picked up his 100th career save as the Giants won 6-4. They left only one runner on base; every time someone got aboard, they either hit into a DP or went long. The Pirates left just four runners on, but that's not a surprise when a team only collects five hits.

Paul Maholm is slated to take the hill against Todd Wellemeyer tomorrow night, weather permitting.

-- The Bucs announced that new pickup Dana Eveland will start Monday against the Nats, leaving Jeff Karstens to go against Steven Strasburg Tuesday. Pity; a Brad Lincoln - Strasburg duel would have been such a natural in so many ways. Where's Bill Veeck when you need him?

-- As expected, Brian Burres was the loser in the pitcher's musical chair game, and was sent to Indy today. His lack of command the last couple of games cost him.

-- Today is the first anniversary of Andrew McCutchen's Bucco debut. He made people forget about the much-bemoaned Nate McLouth trade in a hurry. McClutch actually heard a couple of boos during his first at-bat because of the deal, but banged out two singles with a walk, steal, three runs scored and an RBI to put an end to that silliness.

-- Just a random thought: are there two classier guys than Freddy Sanchez and Billy Maz? Pittsburgh has had some good humans man second base.

-- Tony Sanchez was beaned with a pitch last night. He left under his own power and the move was said to be cautionary. Let's hope it's not serious; any beaning has that scary potential.

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