Big Lead Sports Bar





Leave it to the Pirates to have a six-game winning streak (their longest in nearly four years, pathetic as that sounds) when next to no one in the city is paying attention. Proof? Even John Smoltz is more interested in the Penguins and their fans.

Yes, the rain sent Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones to the luxury box confines of Mellon Arena on Sunday, but the schedule-makers said they eventually had to make up their lost work today. So the Buccos and Tomahawk Choppers took to the PNC Park diamond for a doubleheader on Monday.

In Game One, Zach Duke, Damaso Marte, and Sean Burnett combined on an eight-hit shutout in a 5-0 victory that pulled the Pirates to 18-19, just one off of the hallowed ground of .500. Freddy Sanchez doubled and knocked in three, raising his average to .255, and Adam LaRoche hit his fourth homer of the season, driving in two. On the flip side, hockey fan Chipper Jones had three more hits, raising his 2008 average to a Ted Williams-esque .410 in the process.

Before the nightcap, the Pirates had a team meeting and decided that their reaching .500 while the Penguins were simultaneously blowing the doors off of the rest of the NHL would be simply too much for the city to handle. So for the good of Pittsburgh, they dropped the second game by an 8-1 count.

The Pirates were brought back down to Earth by two men: Atlanta's Tim Hudson, who limited the Buccos to two hits and one run over seven innings, and their own John Van Benschoten, who allowed nine hits and seven runs in four innings, good enough for a postgame demotion to Indianapolis.

The Pirate offense wasn't nearly as prevalent in the second nine-inning affair, as the limited output came from a Doug Mientkiewicz double and an assortment platter of four singles. They whiffed a total of nine times. The Bravos broke it open with a three run ding-dong from catcher Brian McCann in the fifth, which was more than enough offense on this day.

So the 18-20 Pirates take to the field once again on Tuesday night at St. Louis (23-16). It's Paul Maholm (2-3, 4.79) against Kyle Lohse (3-2, 4.87), which, at least on paper, looks like a pretty even matchup. Unfortunately, there's the minor detail of a little thing called "Game Three", so I doubt many people will notice.


Brian said...

Dumatrait's starting tonight, not Maholm.

And unlike all the fair weather Pens fans in this city, I'm watching the Buccos.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

I wouldn't brag about that