Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nitecap: Charlie v Tyler Lyons; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Charlie Morton (9-8, 4.54) works the finale against southpaw Tyler Lyons (2-1, 3.96). Charlie has been underperforming this season and lost four of his last five decisions. But he still knits together stretches of strong ball when his command is on; hopefully, that will be the case tonight. Chuck is 0-1 this season v SL, losing a 4-1 decision (he gave up a pair of runs over six frames, one earned) three weeks ago. Overall, he's been not very good against the Redbirds. Morton is 2-11 with a 5.30 ERA in 17 career outings.

Lyons has been the Cards long man/spot starter, so probably about 80-85 pitches should be his max. He's has mixed results this year against the Bucs, being hit hard twice, but in between tossing 5-1/3 shutout frames. Lyon is 0-2/3.51 lifetime against the Pirates with three starts and three bullpen outings.

Carlos Martinez, who has been murder on Pittsburgh this year, was scheduled to start, but lasted just seven pitches into his last outing and is out for the remainder of 2015 with a shoulder sprain. The back end of the twin bill starts at 7:05 and will be carried by ESPN, Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

The only change is Michael Morse, a righty, taking over at first. Fran is slated to catch two today, but after the game was being checked out after taking a foul ball in the ear area in the first game, so he may or may not go, pending the doc's opinion.

  • The Bucco rotation for the Red series is Frankie, AJ and Jay, dependent on whether the games are meaningful or not.
  • The Pirates magic number for home field wild card is two.
  • The Cards have their champagne in the locker room; let's hope they have to take the bubbly to Atlanta with them tonight.

Bucs Take Opener Behind Fran's Slam 8-2

Gerrit navigated the first frame cleanly, an encouraging sign. The Bucs again turned opportunity away from the door in their swings against Michael Wacha. With an out, Starling was plunked. He headed to second during the ensuing wind-up, Wacha caught him out of the corner of his eye and stopped mid-motion for a classic balk. Cutch walked, but A-Ram bounced to second for an easy 4-6-3 DP. *sigh*

Another three up, three down second for Cole Train. Not so for Wacha; The Kid broke the Bucs 20 inning dry spell by dropping a 2-2 fastball over the Clemente Wall, then settled into a groove. Cole kept rollin' in the third; Wacha ran his K streak to four in the Bucco half until Starling tapped back to the mound.

The Redbirds came back in the fourth. Matt Carpenter drilled a 2-2 heater into right for a double, was bunted to third and came in on Matt Holliday's grounder to left; Clint had the infield in and it bit him as a Mercer dive couldn't cut off Holliday's ball. A tapper moved him to second (Pedro & Jordy couldn't quite hook up on the force at second, but did end up with an out at first), and Jhonny Peralta's single to right brought MH chooglin' around third, but not quite home - Gregory's throw was waiting for him at the dish for the inning-ending tag.

That's Amore... (photo Justin Aller/Getty Images)
A Cutch single and A-Ram walk was a promising start for the Pirates. The Kid's roller moved them up a station as Ramirez managed to avoid Kolten Wong's tag attempt after fielding the ball.  With first open, the Cards opted to walk Pedro (and they worked around him Monday, too). Wacha hung a change up to Fran, who smacked it into the LF seats, and the Bucs answered in a big way, now up 5-1, and earning Fran a curtain call. Jordy walked and scored with two outs on El Coffee's double. Polanco still doesn't have this base running thing down yet; he was the last out, caught in a run down between second and third.

Tony Cruz doubled with two outs in the fifth for SL, but was left aboard. Miguel Socolovich took the ball (Wacha was at 86 pitches). Starling led off with an infield single and stole second, which was as far as he got. Carpenter opened the sixth with a solo shot (and it was a bomb; one hop and into the Allegheny)  to make it 6-2; Jason Heyward was stranded after a two out single. The Pirates again answered. Fran doubled with an out and was chased home by Jordy's single. A two out walk to Gregory put two Bucs on the basepaths, but Starling tapped back to the hill.

Cruz doubled again with two outs in the seventh; he was glued there again. Mitch Harris took the ball for the Redbirds and whiffed a pair to leave Cutch, who reached on an opening boot, aboard. Antonio Bastardo worked the eighth as Cole was at the 100 pitch mark. AB served back-to-back whiffs and closed with a comebacker. Waino came in for the first time since early April. With two gone, Josh banged a double and scooted home when El Coffee singled off Wong's mitt. It's 8-2 guys; let's save a couple of those runs for tonight.

Jared Hughes toed the rubber for the ninth. Jhonny Peralta singled, but that was it and the Pirates had game #1 easily in the bag.

OK - the Bucs stayed alive, and could have made things really interesting had they been a bit more clutch. But as Yogi said, it ain't over til it's over, and Charlie takes on Tyler Lyons in the nitecap.

  • Top two outfield assist men in the NL? Starling Marte with 15 and Gregory Polanco with 12.
  • Fran's grand slam was the second of his career. His first was in 2011 for the Yankees against the Rangers.
  • The attendance (tickets sold) was 29,747.
  • The game marked Adam Wainwright's first outing since April 25th and his first appearance as a reliever since getting the final out in Game Five of the 2006 World Series. Even Clint gave a clap when Waino came on.

Cole Train v Michael Wacha: Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Gerrit Cole (18-8, 2.60) gets the middle game of the set against Michael Wacha (17-6, 3.15). Gerrit is coming off a big win against the Cubbies at Wrigley, and is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in three starts against the Cards this year, having defeated John Lackey & Lance Lynn while dropping a 4-2 decision to Wacha. Lifetime, Cole Train is 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA in seven career regular season starts versus the Redbirds. This will also be Gerrit's final regular season start.

Cole Train gets his final tuneup before the post-season (Jared Wickersham/Getty Images)
Wacha hasn't been showing ace stuff in his last four starts. During that span of 20 innings, he's given up five home runs, walked 14 and surrendered 15 runs. He may be wearing down, having tossed 70 more frames already this season than he did last year. Wacha's managed to find a way against Pittsburgh, tho - he's 2-0 in three 2015 starts and 3-0/1.93 ERA in six career games (five starts) versus the Buccos.

The ace-on-ace match-up starts at 1:35 and will be on the MLB Network, Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. The weather should be fine if a bit autumn-ish, in the mid-60s with gray skies. So if you can slip outta work, this should be a good game to catch, with Cole v Wacha as a top shelf drawing card and prob not much of a crowd to deal with.

Today's Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, A-Ram 3B, The Kid 2B, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy SS, Cole P.

The Buccos will try to recover their batting mojo after back-to-back whitewashes. The lineup is the same as last night's would have been. Our only question mark was whether Fran would catch this game with Gerrit on the mound or if Stew would get the call; but they're no longer an item.

  • Craig Edwards of Fangraphs writes that "Gerrit Cole Is Now the Most Important Pirate." 
  • The Cards magic number is two; if they win either game today, they clinch. The Pirates have gone 8-9 against the Cardinals this season. The Redbirds are the only NL Central team the Bucs have a chance of finishing with a winning record against this year.
  • Pittsburgh's magic number for a home wild card game against the Cubs is three. 
  • JHK visited the clubhouse Monday, apparently in good spirits considering the situation. 
  • Adam Wainwright will be available from the pen today. OF'er Stephen Piscotty was diagnosed with a mild concussion after his Monday collision; he may rejoin the club in Atlanta.
  • The Cards have 99 wins; one more will make them the first 100-win team since the 2011 Phillies went 102-60.
  • If you had a ticket to last night’s postponed game but can’t make it to the park this afternoon, you can swap your ticket for a another home game, of which four remain. The Pirates will allow fans to trade in Tuesday tickets for an April 2016 game during the offseason. 
  • Now that the Giants are eliminated, baseball will have gone a record-setting 15 consecutive years without a repeat (back-to-back) champion.

9/30: Roberto's 3,000th Hit; 1979, '90 Clinchers; Temple Cup; Kiner Bombs; 20 Long Years

  • 1893 - The Pirates ended their season with an eight game winning streak by topping the NY Giants by an 8-6 score to finish the year 81-48, five games behind the Boston Beaneaters. Pittsburgh’s partial owner William Chase Temple thought there should be a series between the top two teams (as his club was second) for the title, so he donated the Temple Cup to the league for a best of seven post-season championship series, to start in 1894. It lasted for four years, never being terribly popular among the players or fans, and didn’t help Temple’s Bucs at all - they never finished higher than sixth during the Cup’s existence. The winner was supposed to take ⅔ of the gate, but the first teams to play agreed beforehand on a 50-50 split, which the winning club then reneged on, causing Temple to sell his Pirate share in disgust.
  • 1921 - RHP Phil Morrison got his only big league outing, tossing ⅔ of an inning against St. Louis in a 12-4 defeat, giving up a hit and getting a K. He’s noteworthy as one of the Pirates’ early brother acts, as he joined sib “Jughead” Johnny Morrison, who pitched eight years for Pittsburgh, on the roster that season.
  • 1946 - 2B Billy Herman, who the Bucs wanted as a manager, was traded to Pittsburgh by Boston with OF Stan Wentzel, RHP Elmer Singleton and IF Whitey Wietelmann for three-time All Star 3B Bob Elliott and C Hank Camelli. Even Herman realized a lopsided deal when he saw one, saying "Why, they've gone and traded the whole team on me.” Elliott won the 1947 NL MVP award and led the Beaneaters to the 1948 NL pennant.
  • 1949 - Ralph Kiner hit his 54th homer and 16th in September over the LF scoreboard at Forbes Field as the Pirates beat Herm Wehmeier and the Reds‚ 3-2 behind Bob Chesnes four-hitter. The monthly total eclipsed Cy Williams' 1923 NL mark, and 54 homers is still the Pirate standard for long balls in a season.
Ralph Kiner (photo Getty Images)
  • 1951 - Ralph Kiner hit a two out, 425’ walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning to give the Pirates an 8-4 win over the Reds at Forbes Field. The four RBI gave him 109 on the year, his fifth straight season with 100+ runs driven home, tying the franchise record set by Pie Traynor. Bill Werle, the Pirates third pitcher, got the win.
  • 1964 - Nineteen Pirates struck out in 16 innings, but the Bucs still beat the Reds 1-0 on Jerry Mays’ suicide squeeze, knocking Cincy out of the top spot in the NL. Starter Bob Veale struck out 16 in 12-1/3 innings while the Reds’ Jim Maloney K’ed 11 in eleven frames at Crosley Field. Al McBean went the final 3-⅔ frames for the victory.
  • 1972 - At Three Rivers Stadium, Roberto Clemente hit a fourth-inning double off a Jon Matlack 0-1 curve to become the 11th player in major league history to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. As an added bonus, Clemente scored and his run was the game winner when Manny Sanguillen chased him home with the Pirates’ first tally. Take it with a grain of salt if someone told you they were there for the big occasion. Only 13,117 people showed up to watch the 5-0 win over the Mets on a raw Saturday afternoon. Dock Ellis took home the W and Bob Johnson worked three innings for the save; the pair combined on a two-hitter.
  • 1972 - Al Oliver was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Swat Artist.” That he was; the Bucco center fielder slashed .312/18/89 and scored 88 times on the way to his first of seven All-Star selections.
  • 1978 - The Phillies clinched their third consecutive NL East title by eliminating the Pirates, 10-8 at TRS. The victory, fueled by Phil pitcher Randy Lerch’s two home runs, snapped Pittsburgh’s 24-game home winning streak. The Bucs went down fighting. They scored four times in the ninth and got the tying run to the plate twice, but Willie Stargell, who had earlier swatted a grand slam, whiffed and Phil Garner bounced out to end the rally.
  • 1979 - The Pirates clinched the NL East crown with 5-3 win over the Cubs on the last day of the season in front of 42,176 jubilant fans at TRS. Bruce Kison and Kent Tekulve got the win and save, Dave Parker had three hits, Phil Garner added a RBI, and Bill Robinson’s two-run single in the seventh was the key blow as the Bucs finished the season two games ahead of the Montreal Expos, who dropped a 2-0 decision to Steve Carlton and the Phils. Willie Stargell became the Pirates all-time RBI leader when he bombed a solo homer in the fifth to overtake Honus Wagner. Pops’ pair of RBI were numbers 1,475 and 1,476; he would finish his career with 1,540.
  • 1987 - The Pirates split a doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs at TRS. They won the opener 5-3 behind Brian Fisher as Jose Lind chased two runs home and Spanky LaValliere scored twice. They dropped the nitecap 10-8 despite Darnell Coles tying a team record by blasting three homers and driving in six runs. Pirate pitching gave up just nine hits, but six were for extra bases and they added 11 walks. 
Darnell Coles 1988 Topps series
  • 1988 - President Ronald Reagan tossed out two ceremonial first pitches before the Cubs lost 10-9 to the Pirates at Wrigley. “Dutch,” a former play-by-play announcer, joined Harry Caray for an inning and a half in the WGN booth. Jose Lind and Andy Van Slyke combined for seven hits in the win. It was a wild finish; Pittsburgh and Chicago each scored five times in the eighth and ninth innings to end up with a 9-9 regulation stalemate. Andy Van Slyke drove in Rafael Belliard with the winner in the 10th. Scott Medvin claimed the W while Goose Gossage took the loss.
  • 1990 - Pittsburgh beat St. Louis 2-0 at Busch Stadium behind Doug Drabek's three hitter to clinch its first NL East title since 1979. Gary Redus and Andy Van Slyke had the RBI as the Pirates finished a seven game winning streak to pull away from the Mets (the Bucs finished the year four games up). It took Drabek just 80 pitches to go the distance.
  • 1993 - Tim Wakefield shut out the Phillies on four hits (although he did walk six) in a 5-0 whitewashing at TRS. It was the first time Philadelphia had been shut out since September 19th, 1992 (also at TRS, by Doug Drabek), a NL record-setting stretch of 174 games between blankings. Pittsburgh’s home finale victory over Philadelphia was led by Dave Clark, who homered and tripled and Tom Foley, who had three hits including a two-bagger.
Tim Wakefield 1993 Topps series
  • 2009 - Ryan Doumit went 4-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and four RBIs in the second game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs, an 8-3 Pittsburgh win behind Jeff Karstens. Dewey became the second Pirate catcher in the last 40 years to have at least four hits and four RBIs in the same game; Jason Kendall collected four knocks and five RBIs in a 13–1 Pirates victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on May 19th, 2000. It was a good day at Wrigley Field for the Bucs as they took the opener, too, 4-0. Charlie Morton tossed a four hitter and Jason Jaramillo doubled in two runs.
  • 2012 - The Pirates were dropped by Cincinnati 4-3 for their 82nd loss, finishing below .500 for the 20th consecutive season to extend their sad little record. The Bucs were 16 games over .500 on August 6th, but for the second consecutive year, a dog days’ collapse was in the cards. This one at PNC Park hurt, as the Reds scored twice in the ninth off closer Joel Hanrahan to steal the win in front of 32,814 fans.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Charlie v Michael Wacha; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Charlie Morton (9-8, 4.54) draws Michael Wacha (17-6, 3.15) in the middle game of the series. This is a tough matchup no matter who's on the hill, and Charlie has been underperforming this season and lost four of his last five decisions. But he still knits together stretches of strong ball when his command is on; hopefully, that will be the case tonight. Chuck is 0-1 this season v SL, losing a 4-1 decision three weeks ago. Overall, he's been not so effective against the Redbirds. Morton is 2-11 with a 5.30 ERA in 17 career outings v St. Louis.

Charlie is looking to get the Bucs back on the winning track (Gene Puskar/AP)
Wacha hasn't been showing ace stuff in his last four starts. During that span of 20 innings, he's given up five home runs, walked 14 and surrendered 15 runs. He may be wearing down, having tossed 70 more frames already this season than he did last year. Wacha's managed to find a way against Pittsburgh, tho - he's 2-0 in three 2015 starts with a 1.93 ERA. The game starts at 7:05 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

However, we wouldn't hold our breaths - it's supposed to rain through the night. And that makes things interesting with the season about wrapped up; there are showers in Thursday's forecast, too, making a twinbill problematic. Maybe it will pass. The Pirates have only had one game rained out this season, but have endured 14 rain delays at PNC Park totaling 15 hours and 33 minutes. What's one more? (Edit - the game was cancelled; they'll play two tomorrow)

Today's Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, A-Ram 3B, The Kid 2B, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy SS, Charlie P.

The A-Team is on the card tonight. We'll see if the Buc bats can rebound from back-to-back shutouts. They've only managed to collect seven hits in the last pair of games; bad luck or bad hitting?

  • Gregory Polanco picked up his 11th outfield assist last night, which is tied with Jay Bruce for the most among NL right fielders. The Pirates lead all NL teams with 36 outfield assists, with Starling Marte leading all outfielders with 15 gun outs.
  • Stephen Piscotty was released from the hospital today after staying for observation overnight; looks like he'll be OK after his outfield crash with peter Bourjos.
  • The Cards will clinch the NL Central title with a win today or tomorrow. 
  • The NL wild card game is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7th at 8:08 PM and will be aired by TBS.

9/29:HBD Cannonball, Ken; Teke Takes Two; Bucs Close Polo Grounds; Camnitz Bro Act

  • 1862 - Ed “Cannonball” Morris was born in Brooklyn. In 1884, Cannonball tossed a no-hitter against Pittsburgh for Columbus, and was purchased by the impressed Alleghenys five months later. The lefty pitched for the Alleghenys from 1885-89 with a 171-122/2.84 line, winning 80 games from 1885-86. He struck out over 300 batters twice with 298 another year, and threw over 550 innings in two different seasons. He also worked a year with the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players League, his last season in the majors.
  • 1908 - Pittsburgh blanked the Cardinals 7-0 at Forbes Field behind Howie Camnitz in the opener of a doubleheader sweep. Camnitz had a no hitter until the ninth when Claude Osteen singled. The last-place Redbirds were blanked for a record 33rd time. The Cards broke out the lumber in the nitecap, but still lost 6-5 when Roy Thomas’ grounder brought home George Gibson in the ninth to give Vic Willis the win.
Howie & Harry Camnitz 1909 T205 series
  • 1909 - RHP Harry Camnitz mopped up in the Pirates 6-1 loss to the NY Giants at Forbes Field. It was his only outing of the year (he had been purchased from the minor league McKeesport Tubers in July), but it made him part of the first brother act for the Pittsburgh Pirates to appear during the same season; he was the little bro of the team’s ace, Howie Camnitz. The Bucs added him to the roster after he picked up 27 wins with the Tubers.
  • 1935 - In his only major league game, C Aubrey Epps went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI in the Bucs' 9-6 loss at Cincinnati. In an oddity, the 23-year old catcher ended up with identical career batting and fielding averages (.750) as he committed two errors in eight chances; guess that’s why it was his only game.
  • 1947 - Tiny Bonham tossed a two hit whitewash as the Bucs defeated the Reds 7-0 at Forbes Field to end a dismal season in Bill Burwell’s only game as a manager (he replaced Billy Herman, who resigned). Pittsburgh finished 62-92, 32 games out of first. Dixie Howell and Frank Gustine homered in front of 33,794 fans. The Bucs had won just 64 games the year before, but would take 83 the following season under new skipper Billy Meyer.
  • 1950 - Ken Macha was born in Monroeville. The Gateway grad, a sixth round draft pick in 1972, played briefly for the Bucs (1974, 1977-78), hitting .263 as a corner utilityman. He made his name as a MLB coach and manager of the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers. Ken is retired and now lives in Latrobe; he’s a pre-game analyst for Root Sports.
Ken Macha 1978 Topps series
  • 1957 - The New York Giants played their final game at the Polo Grounds before pulling up their stakes and heading west, losing to the Pirates 9-1. Bob Friend got the win; Johnny Antonelli took the loss. Roberto Clemente, Johnny Powers and Friend each had three hits; rookie Powers hit the last homer and tallied the final RBI ever at the yard. After the game, 11‚606 fans swarmed for keepsakes as both teams beat a  retreat to the clubhouses for safety.
  • 1978 - Kent Tekulve won both ends of a DH over the Phils at TRS in relief‚ 5-4 and 2-1. He pitched 2 innings in the opener and 1-1/3 frames in the nitecap‚ winning in the 10th. Both wins were gift wrapped; the Bucs won the opener when the relay to third on Ed Ott’s two out ninth inning triple got away, and the Phils balked in the winning run in the ninth inning of the nitecap. Bruce Kison made the pitcher trivia rounds in the second game when he homered off Steve Carlton. That gave him a season natural batting cycle of a single, double, triple and homer in that order. Of course, for a hitter, a natural cycle begins with his first at-bat; with pitcher Kison, it started with a single on July 20th!
Teke - Topps Gypsy Queen series
  • 1992 - The Pirates won their sixth straight game by a 3-0 score over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field as Zane Smith, Paul Wagner (the winner), Steve Cooke and Stan Belinda combined on a two-hitter to put the Bucs nine games up in the standings. Andy Van Slyke homered and drove in a pair of runs to spark the Pirate attack.
  • 2012 - Andrew McCutchen hit a walk-off home run to right center off Jonathan Broxton of the Cincinnati Reds with one down in the ninth inning for his 31st homer of the season and a 2-1 Pirate win at PNC Park in front of a Saturday night crowd of 38,623. Kyle McPherson started the game, and Joel Hanrahan finished for the win.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pirates Strand 16, Lose In the Ninth 3-0 to Redbirds

Couldn't ask for more out of Jay Happ. He spun six shutout innings, giving up just one hit. Trouble was, the Bucs were busy stranding runners and blowing opportunities all over the lot against Lance Lynn and company.

The first went quietly, then in the second, Starling led off with a walk and The Kid doubled him to third. Fran's short fly to right froze them, and Pedro was walked intentionally. Jordy hit one to center, not very deep, and Marte tried to tag with Jay due up; he was gunned by Jason Heyward, who threw a no-hop strike home.

In the third, the Cards got their hit, quickly erased by a DP. The Pirates loaded the bases with an out after singles by El Coffee and Josh, followed by a Cutch walk. Starling whiffed, The Kid bounced out, and more ducks were left on the pond. The fourth only saw a Pedro walk. In the fifth, the Bucs were up to their old tricks; Gregory led off with a double, and tried to go to third on a bouncer by Josh; Jhonny Peralta would have none of it and threw him out. The Buccos squandered two walks in the sixth off Steve Cishek, capped by a two-out diving catch by Heyward.

Jay was the Pirates lone clutch performer tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Joakim Soria took over in the seventh; a one-out walk moved to second on a roller, and Neil Walker came up with a diving stop to hold Heyward to a single and save a run. Joakim buried a change up to Peralta for the inning-ending K.

Josh led off against Kevin Siegrist and hit a gapper. Peter Bourjos ran it down, but in the process kneed Stephen Piscotty in the head for a very scary moment. Piscotty was strapped to a cart and taken away, but did manage a weak wave to the crowd that gave him a well deserved ovation. Say a little prayer for him; he took a hellacious shot to the face and was out cold for a spell.

Cutch then singled and swiped second with two down. The Kid grounded one to Peralta, who muffed it to put Pirates on the corners. Fran worked the count full as the crowd was on its feet; he walked to load 'em. Pedro batted, lefty-on-lefty (Siegrist has a reverse split), and flew out to left to let the Redbirds off the hook. The Bucs are 0-for-9 with RISP and have left 13 runners on base; they've had the bases loaded four times tonight.

Tony Watson took the hill. He gave up a one-out singled to Kolten Wong, who was promptly doubled off on a liner - to right field; it's just not the Bucs with happy feet. Jonathan Broxton came on and Jordy hit a laser - right into Matt Carpenter's glove. Lunchbox walked and Keon Broxton ran for him, but Gregory and Josh hit into routine outs.

Mark the Shark toed the rubber. Carpenter singled with an out and Jon Jay (in as a sub for Piscotty) followed with a grounder into right; Polanco couldn't come up with the ball, and the Cards had the game's first run. It got worse; Mark Reynolds got an 0-2 fastball down the middle, belt-high, and he banged it over the fence to make it 3-0. He's homered in his last three games at PNC Park.

Trevor Rosenthal took the ball and walked Cutch. Starling dropped an 0-2 fastball on the outside half into right for a knock. The Kid put up an 11 pitch battle, but went down swinging. Fran put good wood to the ball, but lined out to right. A-Ram's liner was the third out, and now the Bucs can worry about game-planning for Jake Arrieta in the wild card game.

No doubt about it, it was a brutal loss. And it was a loss - the Cards didn't beat the Pirates as much as the Bucs beat themselves. They stranded 16 and went 0-for-12 with RISP, with the obligatory big error and baserunning blunder tossed in while facing two guys they love to hit against in Lynn and Broxton. Tomorrow, Charlie Morton takes on Michael Wacha,

  • The Cards said Stephen Piscotty suffered a head contusion; he was taken to the hospital to be further evaluated. Tests came back negative, so that's good news.
  • 16 runners LOB is the Pirate season high. 10 runners were put aboard via walks.
  • Tonight's attendance was 30,198.
  • Cardinal injury update: Adam Wainwright may be available from the pen by Wednesday. Yadier Molina is out for the regular season and Carlos Martinez has been shut down for the year. Matt Holliday & Matt Adams are both back.
  • The Cubs won; they're three back of the Pirates in the loss column.

Jay v Lance Lynn; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - JA Happ (10-8, 3.88; 6-2, 2.28 with the Pirates) starts the soiree off against Lance Lynn (12-10, 3.16). Jay's been a blessing to the staff since his deadline acquisition. His last start was a 6-3 win in Colorado Tuesday and he's won six of his last seven decisions. Happ has gone 1-0 in one start this year against the Redbirds, giving up three hits over seven scoreless innings while winning a 9-3 decision . But overall, he's not been so hot, having lost each of his previous six starts vs. St. Louis with an overall 2-8/6.00 slash.

Jay Happ opens the three game set against the Cards tonight (photo Gene Puskar/AP)
Lance looked bullpen-bound for the playoffs after three shaky starts in a row, but found his fastball command against the Reds last time out, tossing six goose eggs. Lynn stopped the Bucs in April 2-1, tho he didn't get the decision. He was treated rudely by the Pirates in his next two starts, losing 5-2 and 10-5. Overall, he's 5-5/5.00 v the Buccos in 18 career outings.

Pittsburgh pretty much needs a sweep to unseat the Cards in the division. And it's certainly within the realm of possibility: the Cardinals have not won a series at PNC Park since April, 2012. The game starts at 7:05 and will be on ESPN 2, Root Sports, and 93.7 The Fan.

Today's Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison 3B, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, Neil Walker 2B, Fran Cervelli C, Pedro 1B, Jordy SS, Jay Happ P.

First team, as expected, except A-Ram's been swapped out for Josh at the hot corner; Harrison is a liftime .368 hitter v Lynn with a 1.000 OPS, in a small sample of 19 AB.

  • The Bucs are 8-8 against the Cardinals this season, going 5-2 at home. Overall, the Pirates are 50-25 at home in 2015, the third straight season in which they've hit the 50-win mark at PNC Park.
  • Bobby LaFromboise has quietly turned into a pretty effective LOOGY. He's unscored upon in eight appearances (6-2/3 IP),  striking out eight and stranding all eight of his inherited runners.
  • The Pirates have six games left, all at home, and are about 140,000 fans shy of setting a new attendance record for PNC Park. 
  • For magic number fans: the Cards magic number to clinch first against the Pirates is four, while the Buccos magic number to guarantee home field against the Cubs in the wild card is three. 

9/28:Homer in the Gloaming; Pirates Clinch 1909, Home Field 2013, HBD Leon, Grant; Freak Show's Final Act

  • 1902 - RHP Leon Chagnon was born in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. He worked for the Bucs from 1929-30, then again from 1932-34 after spending 1931 in the minors. Mostly called to action from the bullpen, he went 19-14-2 with a 4.61 ERA during his Pirate career.
  • 1909 - Player/manager Fred Clarke was honored at Forbes Field before the game, when, according to Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press, “...Mayor WA (William) Magee presented him with a bag of gold coin ($600). Just as the money was being handed to Clarke, James Geary placed a wreath of evergreen on his brow and showered dozens of rosebuds all over him while the fans shouted themselves hoarse at the scene.” After all that, the Pirates went out and lost to the NY Giants 13-9, but even that was good. The Pirates clinched the pennant when the Chicago Cubs lost to the Phils 3-2 and went on to beat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

Fred Clarke 1910 American Caramel series
  • 1938 - The Bucs lost the “Homer in the Gloaming” game to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, considered one of the greatest pennant race finishes in baseball. The teams were tied for first and tied in the bottom of the ninth. The umpires ruled that the ninth inning would be the last to be played because of darkness; if it was still tied, it would become a no-contest and would be replayed the next day in its entirety. Player manager Gabby Hartnett came to bat with two out, fell behind 0-2, and then connected off Mace Brown, launching the ball into the left-center field bleachers for the walk off win and sending 34‚465 fans home in ecstasy, many of whom circled the bases with him. The Cubs won the next day (their 10th straight), the Pirates faded, and Chicago became the NL champs. The loss was so painful to manager Pie Traynor that it’s said to have contributed to his retirement after the 1939 season.
  • 1942 - LHP Grant Jackson was born in Fostoria, Ohio. Buck tossed for the Pirates from 1977-81 and made his last MLB outing as a Buc in 1982. His line here was 29-19-36/3.23, and he tossed scoreless ball in his six appearances during the 1971 NLCS/World Series campaign.
  • 1947 - Tiny Bonham tossed a two hit whitewash as the Bucs defeated the Reds 7-0 at Forbes Field to end a dismal season in Bill Burwell’s only game as a manager (he replaced Billy Herman, who resigned). Pittsburgh finished 62-92, 32 games out of first. Dixie Howell and Frank Gustine homered in front of 33,794 fans. The Bucs had won just 64 games the year before, but would take 83 the following season under new skipper Billy Meyer.
Tiny Bonham 1947 image via Baseball Birthdays
  • 1952 - Ralph Kiner slugged his 37th homer to win the NL crown easily over Gil Hodges (32) and take a record seventh straight home run title. The Bucs whipped Cincinnati 9-6 at Crosley Field as Gus Bell and Joe Garagiola also went long to help Bob Friend to the win.
  • 1966 - Pittsburgh swept a doubleheader from the Philadelphia Phillies by 2-1 and 4-2 scores at Connie Mack Stadium. The strong mound work of Steve Blass and Bob Veale pulled the club within 1-½ games of first place LA. It was their last hurrah; the SF Giants swept the final three game set at Forbes Field, and the Bucs finished third, three games off the pace.
  • 1970 - Danny Murtaugh was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the story “The Desperate Race.” It actually wasn’t that desperate; the Bucs had grown a two-game lead into five by the time the issue was published by winning 6-of-7 down the stretch.
  • 1997 - The Freak Show ended its run with the club’s 79th victory, 5-4 over Houston in 11 innings at the Astrodome. Jose Guillen swung the hot bat with a homer, two runs scored and three RBI to give Jason Christiansen the win, saved by Rich Loiselle. The club wouldn’t match that victory total again until 2012.
Rich Loiselle 1998 Topps Finest Refractors series
  • 2009 - The Pirates won their home finale 11-1 against the Dodgers, with Andy LaRoche hitting two homers and driving in six runs. John Russell drew the ire of the 16,696 fans in attendance when he inexplicably pulled starter Zach Duke (103 pitches) with two outs in the ninth after a sac fly ruined his shutout bid.
  • 2012 - The Bucs drew 34,796 fans to PNC Park, but the star of the show was Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, who tossed a no-hitter to outduel AJ Burnett and earn a hard fought 1-0, complete game win. Bailey walked one and fanned 10 as the Pirates were no-hit for the first time since 1971.
  • 2013 - Behind a six home run barrage (Neil Walker-2, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Marlon Byrd and Andrew Lambo), the Pirates won home field advantage for their wild card game against the Reds by defeating Cincinnati 8-3 at GABP. It was the first time since August, 2007, versus the Rockies at Coors Field, that Pittsburgh banged out that many long balls in a game. It was his first career multi-homer game for Walker and the first career MLB homer for Lambo. Alvarez became the first Pirate third baseman to drive in 100 runs since Aramis Ramirez drove in 110 in 2001 and his 36 homers were a club record for a third baseman. Vin Mazzaro came on in the fifth inning and was credited with the win.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Arrieta One-Hits Bucs In 4-0 Win

AJ and Jake are matched up for the fourth time, and they've all been dandies. Jake, however, took his sense of dandy to the extreme - he tossed six innings of perfect baseball against the Buccos. AJ held up his end, too.

He gave up a first inning run when a leadoff walk was cashed in after a tapper and ground ball single. The Cubs threatened to put it away then, when another walk and an infield single loaded the sacks, but AJ had a K and bouncer up his sleeve. Another run crossed the plate in the second when Arrieta homered, the first time in Burnett's career that he's allowed an opposing pitcher to go long.

Burnett left a pair on in the fourth, again reaching back for a couple of punchouts. AJ had two on with an out in the fifth; another K and a fly took care of that. A single in the sixth was erased on a caught stealing (upon review) and that inning ended AJ's night. He went six, giving up two runs, seven hits, two walks, a bopped batter and five whiffs, doing what he does best, ducking raindrops.

El Coffee got the Bucs' first hit to open the seventh; he stole second as Starling K'ed. Cutch got HBP, and the Pirates had a threat. Jake fed A-Ram a slider and he scorched the pitch, but right at Starlin Castro for a deflating 6-4-3 DP.

AJ was tough, but Jake was tougher (photo Rick Scuteri/USA Today)
Antonio Bastardo came in to work, and gave up a single and walk (Fran actually argued that it was only ball three; we suspect he was playing for time for the pen). Jared Hughes came on and nailed Kris Bryant on a fly; Bobby LaFromboise got Anthony Rizzo to do the same. Rizzo's fly moved up the runners; Cutch made a poor decision throwing to third instead of second. Clint played some September roulette with his pen, bringing on Arquimedes Caminero, who was lit up by Castro for a double (it was originally ruled a HR, but review stopped him at second). Andrew's misguided toss to third cost the Bucs a run as Arqie closed out the inning; 4-0 is quite the mountain to climb.

Travis Wood climbed the hill for Chicago in the eighth. He didn't miss a beat, whiffing The Kid and Fran on six pitches. Josh then worked a walk, but Jordy flew out to left to leave the Pirates just three more outs. Joe Blanton toed the rubber and tossed a clean frame. Pittsburgh went down 1-2-3 in the ninth, and the Cubs avoided the sweep.

Tough to win with one hit, but Jake does that to teams. Arrieta got the better of tonight's strike zone, too, but an ace at home will get that advantage. The key to us was the seventh; AJ kept the Bucs around til then, and if A-Ram gets under the ball instead on top, and the bullpen doesn't give up a big two-out hit, (and we're not sure that you can even properly warm up four pitchers in one inning; but we guess use what ya got), it's a different game.

Now the Bucs come home after a wildly successful (8-2) road trip to take on the Cards for three games. And they have to think sweep if they want to wrest away the division crown; they're three back, and the Redbirds close out the year against the sad sack Bravos. Jay Happ and Lance Lynn kick of the festivities.

  • AJ became the 32nd MLB pitcher to collect 2,500 punchouts in his career.
  • This was the first time in five sets that the Pirates have failed to sweep a three-game series in which Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano and Burnett have pitched.
  • A nice gesture: the Cubs held a ceremony for A-Ram before the game, much as the Brewers did a little earlier in the season. Been a pretty sweet farewell tour for Aramis.

AJ v Jake; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - AJ Burnett (9-5, 3.15) closes out the series against Jake Arrieta (20-6, 1.88). Tall order for AJ; he's basically been a five inning starter since returning from the DL this month and hit the wall pretty hard. In his three starts, he's gone 16 IP, giving up 17 hits, seven walks and seven earned runs. He's gone 1-0 with a 1.47 ERA while opposing Jake Arietta three times this season AJ received a no-decision in a 5-2 Bucco loss at PNC Park on 4/20, tossed seven scoreless innings while winning a 3-0 decision at Wrigley Field on 5/17, and started in a 3-2, 12-inning loss on 9/16 at PNC Park

Jake has been on a Cy Young run. He's 14-1 with a 0.94 ERA in his last 18 starts. During this stretch, opponents are hitting .158 against him and he has allowed just two home runs in 134 innings. Arrieta is 2-1 against Pittsburgh this year with a 0.93 ERA in four starts. The game starts at 8:08 and will be on ESPN and 93.7 The Fan.

Everyone's back in action, with A-Ram and El Coffee in the lineup. The Bucs have swept the four three-game series that AJ, Gerrit & Frankie have started this year; they're looking for brooming #5 tonight. Batman is matching up for the fourth time against Arrieta this year, and has hung toe-to-toe with him.

  • With his next whiff, AJ will become the 32nd pitcher to record 2,500 strikeouts in his career.
  • Antonio Bastardo has retired each of the last 15 batters he has faced over his last seven appearances.
  • The Bucs enter the game riding their second eight game winning streak of the year.
  • The Pirates have had eight single-season 200-K performances over their history, tossed by: Frankie (200 - 2015); Gerrit (200 - 2015); AJ (209 - 2013); Ollie Perez (209 - 2004) and Bob Veale (250 - 1964, 276 - 1965, 229 - 1966 & 213 - 1969).
  • Tonight marks the final regular season road game for the Pirates. They have gone 45-35 away from home this season, the most on the road since the 1991 squad posted a 46-32 record away from home.

9/27: Bucs Clinch 1901, 1970, 1992; HBD Alan; Hans Breaks Hand; 16 In A Row; Josh's Blast; Giles Big Day

  • 1884 - UT player Alan Storke was born in Auburn, New York. He was a Bucco from 1906-09 and played every infield position with a .255 BA while a Pirate. The Amherst grad died young in 1910 from a lung infection from the flu while studying law at Harvard during the off season.
  • 1901 - Deacon Phillippe tossed the Pirates past the Brooklyn Superbas 5-4 at Exposition Park to clinch the NL pennant, the first of three straight NL titles for the Bucs. Pittsburgh scored three times in their half of the eighth. Kitty Bransfield’s single to left chased home Honus Wagner, who had doubled home a pair, with the pennant-clinching run. From August 31st to this date, the Pirates had won 26-of-30 games. It was Pittsburgh’s first NL flag and first title since the Alleghenys began playing major league ball in the American Association in 1882.
Honus Wagner (image via Dugout Legends)
  • 1907 - In a game that ended a 5-5 draw, the Bucs lost Honus Wagner for the last dozen games of the season when he was hit in the hand in the first inning by the Boston Dove’s Rube Dessau and broke a bone. The contest went 11 innings at Exposition Park before darkness claimed it.
  • 1909 - The Bucs won their 16th straight game, the longest winning streak a Pirate club has ever put together. They beat the Giants 6-1 in the first game of a twinbill at Exposition Park, finally losing when they dropped the nitecap, 8-7.
  • 1930 - Paul Waner smacked a homer and single in an 11-8 win over St. Louis at Sportsman’s Park. That gave him 1,057 hits over his first five seasons, making him one of four players - Kirby Puckett, Earle Combs and Ducky Medwick are the others - to have 1,000+ hits in their first five campaigns. Adam Comorowsky drove in four runs during the victory over the Cards, giving him 119 RBI for the year.
  • 1930 - 18 year old rookie Josh Gibson was credited with drilling what at the time was the longest home run ever hit in Yankee Stadium, a blast that was estimated to be anywhere from 460-505’, off the back wall of the LF bullpen (he was said to have landed another ball there in 1946). The Lincoln Giant’s “Broadway Connie” Rector gave up the three run smash in the first inning of a Homestead Grays 7-3 playoff victory. A week earlier, Gibson was credited with being the first hitter to clear the 457’ mark at Forbes Field during the same series.
Josh Gibson (image via Josh Gibson Foundation)
  • 1952 - In the next-to-last game of the season, a 9-6 win over the Reds at Crosley Field, Ralph Kiner homered to finish the season with 37 long balls to tie Hank Sauer for the crown. It was Kiner’s record-setting seventh consecutive NL home run title.
  • 1970 - The Pirates clinched the NL East title with a 2-1 victory over the Mets at TRS in front of 50,469 fans. Dave Cash had two hits, scored once and drove in a run to lead the offense. Dock Ellis got the win and Dave Giusti earned the save as the Pirates swept the three-game series from New York.
  • 1989 - Doug Drabek spun a four hit shutout as the Bucs edged the Cubs and Joe Magrane 1-0. The Pirate run came in the fourth when Pittsburgh strung together three straight singles, with C Dan Bilardello bringing home Jeff King.
  • 1992 - The Pirates won their third consecutive division crown by defeating the Mets at TRS, 4-2. Danny Jackson got the win and Stan Belinda picked up the save. Gary Redus and Jay Bell each had a pair of hits; Redus scored twice and Bell had two RBI.
Danny Jackson 1993 Select series
  • 2002 - The Pirates beat the Cubs‚ 13-3 as Brian Giles scored five runs and drove home six with a double and a pair of home runs. He added another bomb the next game to give him four consecutive years with 35+ homers‚ joining Alex Rodriguez‚ Sammy Sosa‚ and Rafael Palmiero in that select club. Salomon Torres got the win at Wrigley Field. Every Pirate starter, included Torres, had a hit as the Bucs banged out 19 knocks.
  • 2009 - The Pirates scored four times in the ninth inning off Jonathan Braxton at PNC Park after the Dodgers took a 5-2 lead in the top of the frame by scoring three times off Matt Capps. Lastings Milledge delivered the game-winning hit, a two-run single to right-center, to plate Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones. Capps, despite his miserable frame (three hits and a walk), took home the win.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Frankie, Jordy Send Cubs To 4-0 Defeat

Frankie Liriano and Jason Hammel, were both sharp through the first three innings. Pittsburgh had only Lunchbox's first inning double while the Cubs first eight went down before consecutive, and harmless, two-out singles in the third.

In the top of the fourth, Cutch hammered a ball to center but the wind was blowing in again, and for the second straight game, he ended up with a ground rule double in the ivy.The Bucs couldn't cash him in. Kris Bryant doubled to open the Cub half, but he was stranded, too. He had a chance to plate after moving to third with one gone, but the Cubbies opted not to challenge Snider's arm on Starlin Castro's short fly to right  Good thing, too - Travis' throw was a mile off line.

Fran opened the fifth with a single, and Pedro Alvarez followed suit. Jordy drilled a fat 1-0 fastball into the left field bleachers to break the tie and give the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Frankie and Starling (who had to make a u-turn back to first when Francisco decided to stay at second) both followed with knocks.

Jason Hammel was replaced by Justin Grimm. After striking out Lunchbox, Cutch walked to load the bases. That brought on a call for Trevor Cahill, who retired A-Ram on a fly (not much chance of Liriano tagging). The Kid struck out swinging to kill the frame, without getting a strike thrown to him. The Cubs managed a two-out walk and that was it.

Frankie's been a beast with an extra day's rest (photo Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)
Clayton Richards worked the sixth and gave up a walk. Frankie surrendered a Bryant single in an otherwise calm frame. Neil Ramirez got the nod for the seventh and survived a Bryant boot; the Cubs went three up, three down.

In the top of the eighth with Tommy Hunter on the mound, Fran singled with one out, moved to second on a passed ball, and came in on S-Rod's two-bagger. Jordy bounced to first as S-Rod was off on the pitch. Serpico kept on motoring around third, trying to steal another run, but was gunned down; give Anthony Rizzo credit for not napping on the play. Liriano's second hit put runners at the corners, but Starling whiffed to end the frame.

Frankie walked Addison Russell to open the Cub at-bats. A pair of strikeouts was followed by another free pass and Clint swapped Liriano (four hits, three walks, nine punchouts) for Antonio Bastardo, who retired Rizzo on a fly. Carl Edwards shut the Bucs down in the ninth and Joakim Soria did the same to the Cubbies as The Shark got a day off.

The Bucs got another fine outing today; both Frankie and Gerrit (as also true for the Cub pitchers) were aggressive with the lake winds blowing in and took full advantage. Jordy ended up the unlikely batting hero, and Pittsburgh now has a 5-1/2 game cushion on Chicago. It seemed like it was yesterday that the Cubs were looming large in the rear view mirror.  AJ goes for the broom against Jake Arrieta tomorrow.

  • Frankie joined Gerrit in the 200 K club today. They are the first pair of Pirate pitchers to hit the 200 whiff mark in the same season in franchise history.
  • This was Jordy's first three RBI day of the season, and his first homer since early June, when he went long in back-to-back games against the Giants.
  • Pittsburgh has won eight in a row, and all on the road for the first time since 1938. The Pirates' 95 wins are their most in a season since 1992.
  • Awkward - the Cubs were on the field celebrating their playoff berth after the game. The price of backing in...

Frankie v Jason Hammel; Lineup (El Coffee Out) & Notes

Today's Game - Francisco Liriano (11-7, 3.41) climbs the hill against Jason Hammel (9-6, 3.79). Francisco's last start was a 3-2 win over Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium Saturday. He's gone 10-3 in his last 21 starts, and the Bucs have won 14 of his last 15 starting assignments. This will be Frankie's first start against the Cubs since an April no-decision. Overall, he's 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 10 career starts v the baby bears.

A-Ram is in today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Hammel has had first inning woes, with an ERA over five for the opening frame. In fact, he's given up three runs or more in six of his last seven starts, getting past five innings just twice. His last start against the Bucs was a 5-4 loss; he got a no decision. Hammel split two April games, losing 4-3 and winning 4-0. He's been around the block with the Bucs, going 5-4/3.86 in 10 career starts. The game begins at 1:10 and will be on Fox Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Today's Lineup - Starling Marte LF, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, A-Ram 3B, Neil Walker 2B, Fran Cervelli C, Pedro Alvarez, Jordy SS, Frankie P.

Looks like Gregory's knee is still bothersome; Lunchbox is in right. And we're a little surprised A-Ram got the start; he looked a little gimpy after his double last night, so we're guessing that's good news. Starling slides up to leadoff today with Travis in the two hole; otherwise same ol'.

  • The Pirates have won seven consecutive road games for the first time since the 2013 season and a win today would give them eight straight wins on the road for the first time since 1987. The last time the Bucs won seven straight games in one continuous road trip was 1987 and the last time the Pirates won eight games in a row on one road trip was during the 1938 season.
  • The Pirates are 34 games over .500 for the first time since 1991.
  • Gerrit Cole yesterday recorded his 200th strikeout of the season, joining AJ Burnett (209 in 2013) as the only righthanders in team history to whiff 200 or more batters in one season.
  • The Pirates are a MLB-leading 36-17 in one-run games.
  • The Pittsburgh feel good stories have a little different tone this season than they did in 2013-14. Now they're about how they team is built for the long run.
  • The Cubs clinched their playoff spot last night as the Giants lost. So did the Cards; Pittsburgh is just three games out of first.

9/26: Shephard Axed; 5 Hits For Scoops; Bucs Fill PNC; Twin Shutouts; 10-of-12

  • 1901 - The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 4-3 at Exposition Park, guaranteeing at least tie for the 1901 NL pennant with Philadelphia. Jack Chesbro got the win and added an RBI. The other scores were driven in by Honus Wagner, Kitty Bransfield and Lefty Davis as the Pirates put together a four-run sixth inning for the win. They would clinch the next day to take their first ever NL flag.
  • 1906 - Lefty Leifield hurled a six-inning no-hitter against Philadelphia, winning, 8-0 in a game called because of darkness. Pittsburgh won the opener by a shutout, too, taking a 5-0 win at the Baker Bowl behind Vic Willis.
  • 1937 - The Bucs rallied to take the first game against Cincinnati 5-4, then scored twice in the first frame of the nitecap to claim a 2-1 sweep at Crosley Field. The Reds led the opener 4-0 in the eighth, but the Pirates scored three times that frame and twice more in the ninth for the victory. Jim Tobin not only went the distance, but had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Gus Suhr doubled home Woody Jensen and Lloyd Waner to provide Bill Swift, who tossed a complete game eight hitter, all the support he needed in the closer.
Jim Tobin 1939 Play Ball series
  • 1948 - The Homestead Grays won the opening game of the Negro World Series 3-2 over the Birmingham Black Barons at Blues Stadium in Kansas City. The Grays did all the scoring in the second inning, with Willie Pope banging a two-run triple and coming in on Luis Marquez’s two out single. Ted Alexander scattered eight hits for the victory.
  • 1962 - Earl Francis surrendered two hits in ten frames to beat the Reds and Jim Maloney 1-0. Bob Friend pitched the eleventh to earn his only save of the year, coming in after Bill Mazeroski and Willie Stargell doubles produced the game’s only run.
  • 1969 - Larry Shepard was fired as manager though Pittsburgh had an 84-73 record. Coach Alex Grammas took over the club for the remaining week of the season. Then the Bucs returned to old faithful, Danny Murtaugh, for his third go-around as Pirate field boss.
Alex Grammas team photo
  • 1972 - Steve Blass scattered eight hits to defeat the Phils and win his 19th game by a 5-1 score at Veterans Stadium. Al Oliver and Manny Sanguillen had a pair of RBI, and Blass added a hit and drove in the other run. He missed his only chance for 20 victories in his final start against the Mets, when he couldn’t get through the first inning after taking a line drive off the elbow.
  • 1974 - Al Oliver smacked five hits, including two homers and a double, in the Pirates’ 11-5 win at New York’s Shea Stadium. Scoops scored four times and had five RBI. Willie Stargell added four RBI with a long ball of his own as the 37 year old Juan Pizzaro, making just his second start of the year, won. That win moved the Pirates into a first place tie with St. Louis, a race that the Pirates would take down the stretch.
  • 1991 - The Pirates took their 10th win in 12 games when they defeated the Mets in the opener of a twin bill at Shea Stadium by a 4-3 count in 15 innings. Bill Landrum, the fifth Buc pitcher, gave up a tying run in the 14th but worked a scoreless frame in the 15th for a blown save/win daily double. Lloyd McClendon singled in the 14th for the lead; pinch hitter Todd Hundley homered in the Met half to knot the score again. Don Slaught doubled home Barry Bonds in the next set of at-bats, and the Mets ran out of answers. The Bucs had plenty of opportunities to run away and hide, but went 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position. The Bucs dropped the nitecap 2-1; they went 1-for-12 with RISP in that contest.
Bill Landrum 1992 Fleer series
  • 1992 - The Bucs laid a 19-2 hurtin’ on the NY Mets at TRS. Andy Van Slyke went 3-for-5 with a homer, triple, four runs and two RBI. Barry Bonds doubled and went long, scoring three times and chasing home three more tallies. Lloyd McClendon added a grand slam in the first to trigger the 20-hit onslaught, featuring five 2B, two 3B and three HR. Bob Walk got the win, with Steve Cooke and Paul Wagner mopping up after him.
  • 2001 - During an 8-4 loss to the Cubs in their final home game of the season, the Pirates drew 25,564 to PNC Park, its first-year ballyard, and set a franchise attendance record of 2,436,139, an average of 30,000+ fans per contest. It took until 2012 to reach the 2M mark again.
  • 2011 - It took seven Bucco hurlers, but the Pirates held off the Brewers 9-8 at Miller Park, with Daniel McCutchen getting the win and Joel Hanrahan the save, his 40th. The big men with the bats were Alex Presley with a HR, 2B and 1B along with three RBI, and Pedro Alvarez, who also drove in three runs.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bucs Hold Off Cubs To Take Opener 3-2 & Open 4-1/2 Game Gap On Chicago

Jon Lester had an easy first; all three batters squared up on him, but all the liners found leather. Cole Train issued a one out walk, but a strike 'em out, toss 'em out DP carried him through what has been perilous first inning waters. It was a quiet second for Pittsburgh. The Cubs made some noise with one out when Chris Coghlan walked and Addison Russell bunted for a single. A tapper moved the runners to second and third, then Cole K'ed Lester.

With two outs in the third, Mercer drilled a gapper to left-center field. The wind knocked it down, and the ball tangled in the ivy for a ground-rule double. Gerrit helped his own cause by rolling a single into center to make it 1-0. This time the Cubs went down without a peep.

The wind, blowing straight in all afternoon, held up Andrew's shot to center, and the next two Buccos went down routinely. Cole Train ran into trouble with his command in the fourth. Kris Bryant pulled a fastball into left for a leadoff single, then Anthony Rizzo blooped a ball into right, both hits on three ball deliveries. Russell's grounder didn't have enough oomph to get turned, and the force tied the game.

Michael Morse opened the fifth with a leadoff single, but never got off the bag; Chicago was retired in order. The Bucs had a quiet sixth, and Kyle Schwarber dropped a single into shallow right field to open the Cubbie half. He, like Morse the inning before, stayed anchored.

Gerrit Came Up Big For Win #18 (photo via Baseball America)
The Pirates small-balled the go-ahead run in the seventh. Aramis Ramirez led off with a double into left field. Ramirez still isn't running well and was replaced at second by Keon Broxton. Fran bunted him up. With the infield in, Morse fought off a pitch on the hands and softly singled to right field to put the Bucs up 2-1. Cole put the Cubbies away easily.

Pedro Strop took the ball in the eighth, and two wrongs equaling a right was key to adding some needed insurance. Jordy K'ed, but reached first base on a wild pitch. Pedro pinch-hit for Cole and lined a knock to right, chasing Mercer to third. An out later, Starling hit a chopper with the infield in; Castro fielded it by the mound, looked home to see Jordy hustling down the line, and decided to take the out at first. It would have been a bang-bang play, but as it turned out, probably a shot Castro should have taken.

In the bottom of the eighth, Tony Watson took the hill. He made a sharp play to retire Javier Baez (he was originally called safe on the field but ruled out after review.) An out later, Tony walked Austin Jackson and Bryant singled. No sweat; Tony struck out Rizzo. Fernando Rodney took the ball in the ninth and gave up a Fran knock, but no more runs.

Mark Melancon came in looking to close. Chris Denorfia led off with a double. With one out, n Castro tripled to right on a ball El Coffee had problems digging out. The Pirates drew the infield in, but there would be no more balls to field.

Jorge Soler struck out swinging at a curveball, and Javier Baez struck out the same way, causing fist pumps and chest thumps from the Shark and Fran. The guys may play it cool in the clubhouse, but this one meant something. And give Cervelli his props; he was unafraid during crunch time to call for balls in the dirt, and dug 'em all out.

Cole gave up one run on four hits, walking two and whiffing eight, sticking mainly to the number one (which averaged 98 MPH). Lester was tough, too, yielding up five hits with six K. If these two clubs do hook up in a winner-take-all game that ends up with the drama of this match, let's hope the paramedics know their stuff.

Francisco Liriano takes on Jason Hammel tomorrow afternoon; it'd be nice to open up some late September breathing room.
  • Gerrit is the Pirates pitcher with 18 wins since John Smiley had 20 in 1991. Cole also has worked 201 IP with 200 K, both career highs.
  • From a Peter Gammons tweet: Watching Gerritt Cole last week two very good scouts -both ex-pitchers - predicted Cole could be the Madison Bumgarner of the '15 playoffs.
  • The Bucs are 94-60, the most they've been over .500 this year. It's just the 16th time in Bucco history that the Pirates have won that many games.
  • The win moved the Pirates 4-½ games ahead of the Cubs, and the Bucs pulled to within 3-½ games of the Cards, who play Milwaukee tonight. With eight games to go, the magic # to clinch home field for the wildcard is five.

Gerrit v Jon Lester; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Gerrit Cole (17-8, 2.64 ) opens the Cub series against lefty Jon Lester (10-11, 3.46). Gerrit may not be in the stratosphere quite yet, but he's 3-1/2.79 in his last six starts, and that's pretty dang good. His 17 wins are also the most by a Bucco pitcher in a season since John Smiley went 20-8 in 1991. Cole Train is 6-1 with a 3.10 ERA in eight career outings against Chicago and he's gone 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts this year. He's also a morning person - Cole is 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA in 11 day starts.

Lester has been a solid if expensive addition to the Cub staff, and has pitched better than his 10 wins would indicate. His last outing against the Bucs was a complete game gem, whipping JA Happ 2-1 at PNC, but that was followed but a whupping at the hands of the Cards. He's been tough on Pittsburgh in limited outings, with a lifetime 2-1/1.64 slash in three starts. The game begins at 2:20 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Big series; aren't they all in September? But this one should have a razor sharp edge to it, with its playoff implications and the JHK injury still fresh in Bucco minds. The Cubs have won seven of nine and are 3-1/2 games behind the Pirates (who have won six in a row themselves) in the race for home-field advantage in the wild card matchup. We're really looking forward to three games of hardball (and Joe Maddon's fractured fairy tales) at Wrigley this weekend.

Clint sat on the lineup for awhile - he was letting A-Ram (groin) & Gregory (knee) get in some hitting and fielding to see if they were ready for action; apparently they are. Michael Morse is at first and Josh at second against the lefty Lester; Pedro & The Kid take ten..
  • Starling Marte has 15 hits during his current five game hitting streak, raising his batting average from .278 to .293.
  • The Cubs had an off day yesterday; it gave them the opportunity to skip Dan Haren in this series.  Their magic number for a playoff spot is one.
  • Chicago has won 10 of the first 16 games against the Pirates, so they've already clinched home-field advantage if the teams end up with the same record.
  • Only a couple of old teammates in opposing unis today: A-Ram played for the Cubs (2003-11) and David Ross for the Bucs (40 games in 2005).
  • Minor league managers Dean Treanor (Indy) and Tom Prince (Altoona) have joined the club today; it's not just the players' roster that expands...
  • Wrigley Field received a bomb threat that was called in about an hour before the gates opened; the police gave an all clear after a quick sweep.

9/25: Bucs Clinch in '60; Williams #47; Neal Huntington Hired; HBD Tony, Vanimal; Bad Alleghenys; Big Poison's 2B Mark; 6 In a Row For Craig

  • 1890 - Boston defeated the Alleghenys by a 4-3 score in Pittsburgh in front of 23 fans, the lowest attendance in NL history. The team was gutted before the season when most of their better players defected to the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players League. Poor attendance (they played in three yards - Exposition Park, Island Grounds & Mahaffey Park, and drew just over 16,000 fans during the year) led to the squad playing 97 of their 136 games away. They finished with a road record of 9-88, and their .093 road winning percentage is the worst in MLB history. The 1906 New Castle News wrote, probably tongue-in-cheek, that the term 23 Skidoo came about because of the team’s 23 fans and 23 wins during the campaign.
  • 1901 - The Flying Dutchman drove in six runs against Christy Mathewson at Exposition Park with a double and triple as the Pirates defeated the NY Giants for the 12th straight time during the season by a 10-5 score. The top three men in the lineup - Lefty Davis, Fred Clarke and Ginger Beaumont - banged six hits, walked four times and scored seven runs. Jesse Tannehill was touched for 13 hits but never really threatened; Pittsburgh scored three runs in the opening frame and was up 10-1 after six.
Lefty Davis 1990 Target series
  • 1907 - Honus Wagner swiped four bases at Forbes Field, including second, third, and home in the second inning against the New York Giants during a 14-1 victory. The Flying Dutchman duplicated that deed four times in his career. Fred Clarke also stole four bases for Pittsburgh.
  • 1920 - Jimmy Zinn went the distance in the Pirates 12 inning, 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Forbes Field. Zinn gave up six hits in just his second MLB start; before the game, he had 10 big-league innings under his belt. Zinn’s only full season came the following year, when he went 7-6 for the Pirates. He was the epitome of a AAAA player and spent 25 years hurling in the minors. Elmer Riddle wasn’t as sharp in the second game as the Cards came back to take a 3-1 win and a split.
  • 1923 - The Pirates turned the Phillies every which way but loose in an 18-5 romp at Forbes Field. SS Eddie Moore made his MLB debut at the leadoff spot, and had three hits, drew two walks, and scored five times. Pie Traynor had chased home four runs and Johnny Rawlings went 4-for-5. Ray Steineder got the win, and chipped in with two hits, two runs, two RBI and a sac bunt.
  • 1932 - Paul Waner stroked a pair of two-baggers at Sportman’s Park to set the NL mark for doubles with 62 to stoke Pittsburgh’s 7-1 win over the St. Louis Cards.
Paul Waner 1933 Goudey series
  • 1941 - Max Butcher and Elbie Fletcher eliminated the St. Louis Cards from the NL race with a 3-1 win at Forbes Field. Butcher tossed a five hitter, and the only run he was allowed was when he surrendered a bases-loaded walk in the seventh; he came back to strike out the next two Redbirds to limit the damage. Fletcher drilled a two run, inside the park homer to straight center, with Billy Cox scoring the other tally after a triple followed by Arky Vaughan’s sac fly.
  • 1960 - Although the Pirates lost 4-2 to the Braves, a St. Louis defeat clinched the pennant for Pittsburgh. The City celebrated by holding a giant midnight torchlight parade in the Golden Triangle. It was the first time since 1927 that the Pirates were headed for the World Series.
  • 1969 - Tony Womack was born in Danville, Virginia. The second baseman played his first five seasons (1993-94; 1996-98) with the Bucs, hitting .278 and earning an All-Star berth. He played in the show for 13 seasons, finishing up with a .272 BA.
Tony Womack 1997 Fleer series
  • 1974 - Trying to sweep the Cards and hang on to their slim ½ game lead, the Bucs instead squandered a wild one at Busch Stadium by a 13-12 count. The Pirates scored five times in the first, keyed by a three-run shot by Manny Sanguillen. The Cards came back with a six run third; starter Ken Brett yelled at manager Danny Murtaugh when he was yanked during the frame, and again in the locker room. The game settled down, and went into the 11th inning tied at 10. The Pirates scored twice; the Cards rallied for three runs to take the game, scored off September AAA call-ups Juan Jimenez and Jim Minshall. The fielders didn’t help much; Rennie Stennett’s error allowed the tying run to score, and the infield played Bake McBride’s bunt into a hit. The loss stung, but Pittsburgh would eventually take the pennant, although losing the NLCS to the LA Dodgers.
  • 1987 - RHP Vance Worley was born in Sacramento. Vanimal hit the stage running in 2011, as he was elected to Baseball America’s All-Rookie Team and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, behind winner Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman. Alas, bone chips derailed his 2012 campaign, and he was moved to Minnesota, where mechanical problems caused by the injury led to some very forgettable outings. The Bucs bought him in the 2013 off season, called him up in June of 2014, and he went 8-4/2.25. He started 2015 in the pen, claimed a spot in the rotation when Charlie Morton was hurt, and went back to relief upon Morton’s return.
Vance Worley 2014 Topps series
  • 2001 - Craig Wilson collected hits in each of the final three innings of Pittsburgh's last game and got hits in each of the first 3 frames against Chicago‚ giving him knocks in six consecutive innings against six different pitchers‚ a MLB mark. The Bucs won 13-1.
  • 2002 - Mike Williams set the Bucco single season save record when he earned his 46th against the Mets at PNC Park with a 1-2-3 ninth, closing out a 4-3 win for Ron Villone. The record would last until 2015, when it was eclipsed by Mark Melancon.
  •  2007 - Neal Huntington was named as the Pirates new GM, replacing Dave Littlefield. He spent six years with the Expos and a decade with the Indians in various executive positions, primarily in the player development area, prior to coming to Pittsburgh.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Petey and the Pen Sweep the Rox 5-4

The Buccos continued to sprint out of the gate. Jaff Decker drew a walk from Chad Bettis, went to second on Cutch's infield hit and scored on Starling's single. Jeff Locke worked around a two-out Nolan Arenado double to keep the Rox off the board. Stew singled for the only Buc action in the second and Colorado went down 1-2-3.

Pittsburgh stranded Starling in the third, and the Rox took their first lead of the series. The Bucs couldn't convert a roller into a DP after a walk (to the pitcher!) and single, and Arenado made them pay by banging a two-out, two run double. The fourth went quietly, with both sides leaving a runner at first.

Josh led off the fifth with a double, and Decker followed with knock up the middle to tie the game. It was frustration afterward; Cutch banged into a DP and Starling was thrown out at second after his third hit, a call that was upheld by review. In the bottom half, Corey Dickerson singled on a hopper that Petey couldn't glove that was generously ruled a single, and that hurt when Cristhian Adames' tripled to right to take the lead back for Colorado.

Pittsburgh went down in order in the sixth, while the Rockies added on. Kyle Parker singled, stole second and came home as Alvarez was handcuffed by Ben Paulsen's two-out grounder. Scott Oberg took the ball in the seventh, and left Josh at second after his two-out two bagger. Joe Balnton got the call for Pittsburgh, and it was a messy but scoreless inning. Blanton missed Pedro's toss on a grounder, but that was negated by a caught stealing. With two outs, CarGo singled and went to second on Jaff's misplay. Justin Morneau was intentionally walked, and Joe got out of it with a pop out.

Pedro's glove gave a couple, but his bat took a couple today (photo Gene Puskar/AP)
Jaira Diaz climbed the hill in the eighth. Starling and The Kid singled with an out, but Jordy whiffed. Then Pedro of the lead mitt stepped up and atoned, drilling a 2-1 fastball over the right center wall to put the Pirates up 5-4. You chalk that one up to Walt Weiss; the Rox manager had a lefty loosening, but stuck with righty Diaz. Antonio Bastardo took Tony's usual eighth inning role (Watson was on a rest day) and tossed a 1-2-3 eighth.

John Axford came in, and the Bucs threatened with two outs when Jaff blooped a single and Cutch walked, but he got Starling for the first time today on a hopper to second. Mark the Shark has been absolutely untouchable lately, and he threw a clean ninth with a couple of K for his 50th save.

Well, the good, the bad and the Pedro came through today; seems like a different hero every outing. The Bucs close out September visiting the Cubs and hosting the Cards with 3-1/2 games, as of now, on either side of standings. Gerrit Cole and Jon Lester start the fun tomorrow at Wrigley.

  • Mark the Shark became the 12th member of MLB's 50-save club.
  • Starling has 13 hits this series, tied for the most in a four-game series in Pirates history with Pie Traynor from August 2-4, 1928.
  • The top four Pirate hitters - Josh, Jaff, Cutch and Starling - reached base 11 times today via nine hits and a pair of walks.
  • The Bucs scored in the first inning of all four games of the series.
  • The Pirates recorded their first four-game sweep on the road since July of 1997 at St. Louis. It was also their sixth win in a row. Hopefully, the pen doesn't get into a jam with the Cubs and Cards coming up; no starter made it through the sixth against the Rox.
  • Today is Pirate win #10,000 in NL, which the Bucs joined in 1887 and use as the franchise starting date. The franchise actually started its major league days in 1882 as the Alleghenys of the American Association and from that point of time, this is win #10,236.

Jeff v Chad Bettis; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Jeff Locke (8-11, 4.48) works getaway day against Chad Bettis (8-5, 4.46). Jeff's had a disappointing season, and right now sits as the sixth man in the rotation; he may be pitching for a back-end spot in 2016 as he alternates between good and bad outings. Despite his spotty work, tonight will be his 30th start of the year, a career high. He's 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA v the Rox, and hasn't seen them yet this year.

Bettis profiles as a mid-to-back end guy for the Rox, and Colorado has played well behind him, winning 12-of-18 games that he's started. He's pitched better since returning from the DL a month ago, and has given up just one run in his last 12 innings. Bettis hasn't gone against Pittsburgh this year, and is 0-1/7.37 when he has in the past, although that's over just a seven inning sample. The game starts at 3:10 and will be on Root Sports & 93.7 The Fan.

As expected, A-Ram and Gregory are being held out with the Cub series looming. The only surprise is Jaff getting the start in El Coffee's place; we thought it would be Lunchbox. Stew's in too, giving Fran a night-to-day game break.
  • In the first three games of this series, Starling Marte has gone 9-for-15 with six RBI and now has a four-game hitting streak.
  • El Coffee has a hit in five straight games and has scored in 11 of the past 14 matches. Also, no official word on the results of his ugly slide last night, but he seems to be no worse for the wear.
  • Cutch has been walked 13 times in his last five games. He's only had 12 official at bats during that span.
  • Seems only fitting: in a bit of a mix 'n' match quirk, last night's starting lineup consisted of the same position players (in a different order) as Opening Day.
  • After sputtering along at the start of the month, the Bucs have taken five games in a row and are 13-10 for September.
  • Pittsburgh is one victory shy of posting its 10,000th franchise win since officially joining the NL in 1887. That's the Pirates party line; if you count the five years they were in the American Association as the Alleghenys, they won #10,000 in 2013.
  • Deadline magic: don't overlook the pitching NH brought in at the deadline - JA Happ is 6-2/2.28 in nine starts, Joe Blanton 4-0/1.88 in 17 outings, and Joakim Soria is 0-0/2.38 with five holds (one blown) in 25 appearances.
  • The Pirates will put limited number of tickets for the post-season on sale at 10AM Monday.

9/24: HBD Jeff & Ishy;Three for Steverino; 50 For Omar; Craig's HR Mark

  • 1957 - Bucco 1B Dee Fondy grounded out to end the game and thus became the last player to swing a bat in anger at Ebbets Field. Da’ Bums Danny McDevitt blanked the Bucs 2-0 in the final major league game played in Brooklyn before the Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles.
  • 1966 - Roberto Clemente connected for a two-run go-ahead home run to cap off a five-run seventh inning in Pittsburgh’s 8-6 win over the Braves at Atlanta Stadium. Bob Bailey had a two-run homer and Gene Alley chased home two more with a double. Steve Blass worked two innings of relief to pick up the win; Pete Mikkelson got the save. The win moved them 1-½ games behind the LA Dodgers, but that’s as close as they would get, finishing three games off the pace.
  • 1968 - Steve Blass tossed his third consecutive shutout‚ defeating the Reds 2-0 at Forbes Field. Steverino won his ninth straight victory and recorded a NL high seventh shutout on his way to an 18-6 season. The game against Gary Nolan was scoreless until the seventh when Willie Stargell led off with a homer. The Bucs added an insurance run in the eighth when Maury Wills singled, was bunted to second and came home on Matty Alou’s two-bagger.

Steve Blass 1970 O-Pee-Chee series
  • 1970 - Luke Walker spun a seven hit shutout as his teammates made it easy with a 15 hit attack to drop the Mets 8-0 at TRS. Gene Alley was the unlikely hitting hero, with three hits including a triple and four RBI. Manny Sanguillen had three knocks too and scored twice. Matty Alou, Dave Cash, Richie Hebner and Bob Robertson each added a pair of hits.
  • 1973 - LF Willie Stargell robbed Ken Singleton of a homer in the fifth, went long himself in the sixth and threw out Tony Scott at home in the seventh inning during a 3-0 defeat of the Expos at Jarry Park. Nellie Briles and Dave Giusti kept Montreal off the board, scattering eight hits for the shutout.
  • 1973 - Danny Murtaugh was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the story “Frenzy In the East.” The Pirates, winners of three consecutive titles, finished third behind the Mets, 2-½ games out. Five of the six NL East teams finished in a pack separated by five games.
  • 1977 - OF Omar Moreno swiped his 50th base of the season to surpass Sonny Jackson's rookie record set with the Astros in 1966. The Antelope swiped a pair of sacks and was caught once by Cubs C George Mitterwald in a 7-3 Pirate win at Wrigley.
  • 1982 - RHP Jeff Karstens was born in San Diego. He was sent to Pittsburgh by the Yankees in 2008, and the oft-injured righty worked as a multi-role pitcher for the Pirates until 2012, with most of his outings as a starter. He retired in 2015 after failing to recover from 2013 shoulder surgery. In his five Pirate years, JK’s slash was 23-25/4.31.
  • 1983 - 1B Travis Ishikawa was born in Seattle, Washington. He started 2014 with the Pirates, lost his job to Ike Davis and was DFA’ed, ending up with the Giants and hitting a three-run homer to propel them into the World Series. The Pirates got him back by the same route in mid-2015 as a bench player.
Travis Ishikawa (photo Benny Sieu/USA Today)
  • 2001 - Rookie OF Craig Wilson tied the MLB record for pinch hit HRs in a season by hitting his seventh in the Pirates' 7-6 win over the Cubs. He stayed in the game and banged out two more knocks. Gary Matthews Jr. also homered as reliever Mike Lincoln, the Pirates fifth pitcher, got the win and Rich Loiselle the save.
  • 2006 - Trevor Hoffman retired the Pirate side in order to close out a 2-1 San Diego victory at Petco Park. It was his 479th career save, surpassing Lee Smith and making the 38-year-old reliever the all-time leader in saves.
  • 2011 - Josh Harrison went 4-for-5 with a 2B, 3B and stolen base while Neil Walker went 3-for-4 to help the Bucs to a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Brad Lincoln got the win and Jason Grilli earned his first save as a Pirate.