Just when the Pirates finally kissed the .500 mark, it slapped them in the face and ran off. It turns out as that has been the case the last 100 years for the Buccos, it was just playing hard to get. After the Pirates secured a 2-1 victory last night in typical minimalist offensive fashion, they hope to take it a little farther this time around.
The Bucs got off to a less than ideal start in the first inning with A.J. Burnett facing runners on second and third with no outs. He limited the damage by allowing only Brandon Phillips to score an unearned run on a sacrifice fly, but a 1-0 deficit to the Pirates has been quite a mountain for them to climb.
Burnett would go on to quell all fears of another outing like his disaster against St. Louis by not allowing another base runner until the sixth inning. The strikeout numbers weren’t up to Burnett’s standards, but it was nice to see that he can be successful when people aren’t swinging and missing.
Take away Burnett’s 12-run ***************** the Cards and he’d be looking at a 1.44 ERA on the season. That’s great but other than the fact that I’m white and slow, I could be an Olympic sprinter.
At the plate, the mighty Bucco bombers were at it again. After a Garret Jones triple, the bases were left loaded to end the second and Burnett would have the only other hit until the sixth. That’s when the Bucco bats finally exploded for a two spot to give them an insurmountable 2-1 lead.
The big hit came off the bat of newcomer Matt Hague, a double that scored Jones and Neil Walker. Apparently Hague was unaware of the team’s strict no-big-hit policy and will be fined accordingly.
Burnett ended his day with an easy seventh inning in line for the win, Jason Grilli made quick work of the eighth and Joel Hanrahan battled through Hammer Time, as usual, to finish things off with back to back K’s.
The theme of the season continues with great pitching hiding a horrendous day at the plate. The Pirates finished with just 5 hits, none from their regulars, but it was hard to hit when teams are clearly scared and pitching around you as was the case with Rod Barajas and his two intentional walks.
Winning the series against the first-place Reds was huge but Friday could mark the beginning of the end for the Pirates as they make their first trip of the season to their hell away from home, Miller Park, to take on the struggling Brewers.
Hoist the colors.