Sunday, August 7, 2011

No Place Like Home...Not

Well, let's see if we can at least win one game at PNC before going out to the left coast.

Hey, the first inning went down easily enough. Both pitchers issued walks; both runners stayed on first.  But...

Orlando Hudson led of with a line single, and Kyle Banks followed with a double to left that had Matt Diaz running in circles. But Kevin Correia hung tough; he allowed one run to score on a bouncer, but managed the inning pretty well after watching his right fielder do the reel. Mat Latos had no such problem; the Bucs went three up, three down.

Will Venable started the third by whacking a first pitch meatball into center for a leadoff knock, and stole second on the next pitch. Jason Bartlett smacked an 0-2 curve to short; Venable had a Lastings Milledge moment and was thrown out trying to get to third. Maybin walked on four pitches, more due to ump Brain Runge squeezing the plate than with Correia's control. Jesus Guzman made up by banging a first pitch slider to short; Wood started a 6-4-3 DP.

With two away, Xavier Paul collected the first Bucco hit when he rolled a ball up the middle. The euphoria didn't last long; two pitches later, he was caught stealing.

Not only did Correia pitch a clean fourth, but he picked up a pair of K's while he was at it. Latos also put the Bucs away without a peep. After four, it was 1-0 San Diego.

Correia kept dealing; the Padres went down 1-2-3. Unfortunately, so did Pittsburgh. With two away in the sixth, Guzman worked KC for a nine pitch at bat, finally dropping a soft single into center and Hudson followed with a five pitch walk. Blanks, hitting .182, walked on a 3-2 fastball to load the bases.

KC got ahead of Logan Forsythe 1-2. After not getting the call on the next pitch, he left a slider down the middle and Forsythe banged it into center to score a pair, and he went to second on the throw home. Forsythe has 3 RBI this game; he had three all season coming into today. And Brian Runge is probably off Correia's Christmas card list after this inning.

That brought in D-Mac. Correia went 5-2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits with four walks and three K's. McCutchen intentionally walked Luis Martinez to load the bases and get to Latos. D-Mac wild-pitched a run home - Dewey had already saved him once with a block - before getting the out. Two sliders in the dirt against the pitcher...that's a lot of respect. And it made the score 4-0 San Diego as they continue to maximize their scoring - five hits, four runs.

Wood opened the Buc half with a single. Steve Pearce pinch hit; his soft roller to second moved Wood up a station. Paul and Diaz hit into routine outs to leave him there.

Brad Lincoln came on; Venable drilled a single up the middle to welcome him back to the show. he stole second and went to third when Dewey's toss went into center. Bartlett poked a curve softly into right, in front of Jones to bring Venable home. Bad Brad quickly recovered to get the next three outs, two by strikeout, throwing 93-94 MPH. The Bucs went down in order again.

Blanks opened the eighth with a double to right center. The next hitter, Forsythe, was HPB. After a strikeout and sac bunt, Venable drilled a first pitch heater for a two run double to make it 7-0.

Dewey singled to start the eighth off for Pittsburgh. Pedro fell behind 0-2, took a couple of pitches away, and lined a knock up the middle. That was enough to bring Chad Qualls on for San Diego. Wood gave him a rude welcome by pounding his seventh homer of the year a few feet inside the left field pole to make it 7-3.

After an out, Paul rapped a single into left, and McCutch grabbed a bat to pinch hit. He hit into a force, as did Walker, and the rally fizzled. Hanny came out of the pen to work the ninth, and mowed down SD just as if he was clinging to a one run lead.

Josh Spence worked the ninth for the Padres. With two away, injury was added to insult when Dewey got nicked by a pitch. Pedro bounced out, and the Bucs finished 0-7 on a homestand they had to have.

Well, we got a look at Bad Brad. He's challenging guys now instead of nibbling, but living too much in the center of the plate. His command and maybe plan of attack have a bit of fine tuning to go. Pedro is still hitting with two strikes all the time, but at least today he got a knock and hung tough against a lefty, so he's slowly getting on track Time to pack up and head to the coast; a change of scenery can't hurt.

Charlie Morton takes on Ryan Vogelsong tomorrow night in San Francisco.

  • This is the first time in team history that the Pirates have gone winless in a homestand of seven games or more.
  • The Padres scored 35 runs on 40 hits this series and stranded just 19 runners.
  • Today's attendance was 35,601 for a series total of 112,618, the fourth largest three day crowd in PNC Park history.
  • The Bucs ended last night's game with a team meeting called by Matt Diaz. We'd love to have the walls rat out what was said, not that it helped any.
  • Derreck Lee missed a fourth straight day with a bruised hand. But for the first time, he was listed as available for duty although he didn't get in the game.
  • Alex Presley took early BP with the team and then headed to Bradenton to begin his rehab regimen.

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