Found September 23, 2012 on Pirates Prospects:

The Pirates offense has been struggling to hit consistently in the month of September. Pittsburgh entered game action Sunday with a five game skid, and having scored more than just one run in only one of those games. In back-to-back games against the 100-plus lost Houston Astros, the Pirates were only able to score two runs, each solo-home runs. Looking for a spark to finish the 2012 season on a high-note over their final stretch, the offense finally came alive to give them their 75th win of the season.

The Bucs sparked a hit parade at Miller Park, combining for 18 hits, just one shy of their season-high 19. They drove in eight runs for the first time since driving in nine in the loss at Wrigley Field in Chicago on September 16th. Of those 18 knocks, just three came for extra-base hits. But for Manager Clint Hurdle, that is a good sign that things could be turning. They “singled to death” the Astros’ starter Jordan Lyles and their bullpen.

“The one thing that happens in this game is when you start not getting the results you want, I think people have the tendency of wanting to do something big and impactful,” Hurdle said. “It’s been ongoing for a while. What you need to do is connect the dots. Single someone to death. We talk about it all the time. Single somebody to death. Hit five singles in a row. Easier said than done, but the mind-set has got to change. You can not continue to do things the way you’ve been doing them and expect different results. It’s a definition of insanity.”

Seven of the eight runs came on two big innings from the Pirates.

A four-run fifth inning broke up the scoreless game. Back-to-back singles from Alex Presley and Josh Harrison started the frame, and a walk to Andrew McCutchen loaded the bases. After the Astros brought in a left-handed reliever, Hurdle pinch-hit the southpaw bat of Garrett Jones for Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez was hit by a pitch to drive in the first run of the game.

Jose Tabata was the next to step to the plate as a pinch-hitter. And he, too, was given a free pass. Tabata drew a four-pitch walk to bring home the second run. The Pirates finally put their bats in the equation after back-to-back RBI singles from Clint Barmes and Rod Barajas finished off the four-run frame. The four-run fifth was the first four-run inning for the club since August 28th against St. Louis.

After picking up another run in the sixth, McCutchen’s second hit of the day drove in Harrison and pushed his season average to .338, Pittsburgh put together another multi-run frame in the eighth.

Three straight hits with one out drove in two more and starter A.J. Burnett joined in on the hit party with an RBI single of his own.  The offensive game snapped the club out of their five-game losing streak and gave them just their fifth win in the month of September.

 

Burnett Becomes the Stopper in Eight Inning Performance

When the Pirates have needed a stopper to help snap the club out of a funk, A.J. Burnett has been that guy for most of the 2012 season. On Sunday in Houston, the veteran tossed eight impressive frames notching a new season-high in strikeouts.

Burnett dealt against the Astros, hold them to just one run in his 29th start of the season for Pittsburgh. He tossed a shutout through five and gave up his lone run on a two-out solo shot in the sixth. Scott More took a 1-1 fastball for the long ball, but Burnett was able to keep the runs at that mark.

The right-hander notched his season-high 11th strikeout in the eighth inning, passing the 10 whiffs he’s reached twice this season. Burnett got Jose Altuve swinging in the two punchout frame. The right-hander held the Astros to just four hits over his eight innings with just one walk while throwing 109 pitches.

After a rough month of August when he posted a 5.18 ERA, Burnett has not allowed more than three runs in any of his five starts this month. Burnett became the Pirates first pitcher to win 16 games in a season since 1991 when Zane Smith went 16-10.

 

Huntington Addresses SEALs Criticism

General Manager Neal Huntington addressed the Navy SEALs training program held at Fall Instructs for the Minor Leaguers on Sunday. The organization was criticized after a report in the Tribune review involving an email from assistant GM Kyle Stark. Huntington supported Stark calling him a “tremendous front-office executive” and that the report was inaccurate.

Huntington also told the Tribune that despite the team being in the midst of a second straight season collapse that he will not change the front office and that he believes in what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. The team President Frank Coonelly and Owner Bob Nutting, however, could decide to go different ways with Huntington due to the struggles in the final month and a half in the season. Huntington acknowledged that it was their call, but said he hoped they decided not to replace him.


THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

McPherson Ready to Make an Impact in the Majors

It’s been a whirlwind season for rookie Kyle McPherson. From starting the season on the minor league disabled list, to getting his arm back healthy in Double-A, then dominating in his short stay at the Triple-A level, McPherson saw the deserving jump to the Majors. The hard work that McPherson put in this challenging year has paid off. And he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. “It’s...

First Pitch: There Is No Escape

I was watching the game tonight around the seventh inning, thinking about how Kevin Correia was dealing on the mound. I’ve been critical of Correia this year, but the last two months he’s been the least of the problems for the Pirates. In fact, he’s been their best starter during that time. Correia struck out a lot of batters tonight, which reminded me that he’s had a few...

First Pitch: The Other Black Hole in the Lineup

Last week I looked at the black hole in the lineup that is the 7-9 spots, specifically looking at how the Pirates have seen the worst offensive production in the league from non-pitchers. I wanted to continue that by taking a look at the top of the order. Going in to this I expected the results to be bad. My focus was primarily on the on-base percentage, which is an area where the...

McCutchen No Longer the MVP and It's Not His Fault

Barring a late-season win streak, the Pirates will surely clinch their 20th consecutive losing season.  Just like last year, the season will end with an epic collapse to erase what was a competitive four months of baseball.And yet, there is one major difference between last year's collapse and this year.  Andrew McCutchen is still playing at an All-star level.  He hasn'...

Pirates Notebook: Offense Struggles to be Consistent

The Pirates lineup continues to struggle to be consistent over their last several weeks. After belting out 18 hits in the win on Sunday, it looked as if maybe the team had found a spark to finish off the season strong. That wasn’t the case against the New York Mets on Monday at Citi Field. Not until the eighth inning were the Pirates able to plate a run off the Mets bullpen. Andrew...

First Pitch: The Day Huntington and Stark Lost Their Jobs?

When I read Dejan Kovacevic’s column on the Navy SEAL training last night, my initial reaction was “someone is getting fired”. Between the team’s horrible play at the major league level, and now this news coming out complete with Kyle Stark’s e-mail, it was the perfect recipe for a full day of “Look at how the Pirates have collapsed in the second half…and while we...

Pirates assistant GM Kyle Stark wants his minor leaguers trained like SEALS and turned into Hell’s Angels

Pittsburgh Pirates assistant GM Kyle Stark wants his minor leaguers trained like Navy SEALS and turned into Hell’s Angels with swagger. People have a problem with this and it's not just because the... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com

Ho-hum, Bucs lose again

You can add a series loss to the lowly Astros on to the list of miserable things that have happened to the Pirates lately, as a 4-1 victory improved Houston’s record to 50-102. Yep. Kevin Correia pitched very well, for the most part. He allowed a run in the first inning, then dominated through the sixth. Correia racked up nine K’s – tying his career high – and went into...

GAMEDAY: Pirates at Mets

Pirates (75-77) at Mets (69-83) 7:10 PM EST–Citi Field, New York Here is the MLB.com Gameday TV: ROOT Sports Once again, the Pirates’ schedule is giving them a great opportunity to pick up some wins against a bad team. The Mets have been awful lately; they’re coming off a sweep of the Marlins, but before that they lost 11 of 12. They’re miserable at home, too (they have fewer...

Pirates-Mets Preview

The Pittsburgh Pirates' 2012 quest to end their losing ways is down to its final 10 games. The Pirates must win six of their remaining contests to avoid a 20th straight losing season heading into Monday night's opener of a four-game road set with the New York Mets. Pittsburgh (75-77) was as high as 16 games over .500 at 63-47 and well within reach of a postseason spot before...

Astros 4, Pirates 1

Jason Castro hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Houston Astros beat fading Pittsburgh 4-1 Saturday night, handing the Pirates their fifth straight loss. The Pirates fell 6 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the last NL wild-card spot. Pittsburgh has lost 17 of its last 21 and dropped to 74-77, moving closer to its 20th straight losing season. Rookie Dallas Keuchel...

How do you predict a collapse?

While I started gathering thoughts for my post about Neal Huntington's future with the Pirates over the weekend, I kept getting stuck on the idea of how much blame a front office (or a coaching staff, or the players, or anyone really) should get for a collapse like the one the Pirates have endured this season. This is not to say that no one deserves blame for this sort of...

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Houston Astros – Game 152

Wow.  The Pirates dropped a series to the Astros.  Pathetic.  Fire somebody.  Anybody. First Pitch:  2:05 PM EST Where To Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV, FS-H Jordan Lyles, RHP (21) A pitcher’s performance this season doesn’t matter to the Pirates. They will prove anemic against the worst of em. And Lyles is one of those worst [...]

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets – Game 154

Another recap for your reading pleasure.  Please, take pleasure in reading the recap, since you couldn’t possibly take any out of watching the game. First Pitch:  7:10 PM EST Where To Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV, SNY Collin McHugh, RHP (25) Time to get another pitcher their first win. This is something the whole team can [...]

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Houston Astros – Game 151

Is there really even anything to say about last night?  Pathetic. First Pitch:  7:05 PM EST Where To Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV Dallas Keuchel, LHP (24) Keuchel has not had a good season. Tm W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB HOU 2 [...]
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.