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The Pirates collectively decided not to continue playing like they wanted to get their manager fired, pulling out a dramatic 7-3 win in Milwaukee last night (as if the Pirates could win any other way).

The unlikely turn of events came in the ninth inning, when aging closer Trevor Hoffman surrendered a tying solo shot to Ronny Cedeno and a grand slam to Ryan Doumit that sent the Brewer faithful scurrying for the exits as if the stadium was on fire. It was the first win for the Pirates in Milwaukee in their last 23 games, dating back to May 3, 2007.

Even more unlikely was the Pirates getting a quality start from newly-recalled Jeff Karstens, who was sporting a 7.31 ERA at Indianapolis. But Karstens held the Brewhas to two runs and six hits over six and 2/3, and the bullpen let only one more in the rest of the way. Combine that with the red-hot bat of Andy LaRoche (seriously, the guy's hitting .400), some power via Doumit, Cedeno, and Jeff Clement, and voila! The Pirates proved they can win a game after all. Whether or not we can count on a grand slam off the all-time leader in saves in the ninth inning on a regular basis is a question for another day. Let's just enjoy this for what it is, the baseball equivalent of a downpour in the middle of a drought.
The 8-12 Bucs and 9-11 Brewers meet today at 1:10 in a getaway game, with Paul Maholm facing off against something called a Chris Narveson. After that, the Pirates head to Los Angeles, where the Dodgers are surely plotting revenge for that season-opening series at PNC Park.
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Steve said...

I guess there's the solution. Swap the bullpen relievers with the starters.

This win aside (even a blind squirrel finds a nut), I still long for the more competitive days of Operation Shutdown.

okel dokel said...

It is about time Ryan Doumit did something to increase his trade value. Lord knows he can't throw anyone out who is attempting to steal.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

It was nice to see Doumit finally start hitting this season (lots of good at bats). And it was nice to see Jeff Clement hit the ball hard for the first time(s)... ever. And Andy Laroche is on a tear!!! This 'tear' is almost all singles(1 2B) but, he does play for the pirates. As long as he keeps getting on base all the time, who cares? Sure the bats didn't do much damage until the 9th, but today and yesterday, the buccos had a lot of baserunners. They just couldn't bring them across the plate with timely hitting. Anytime this squad gets 6 extra base hits, we should be happy.

And, most importantly, how about that quality start from Karstens? Can't say enough about his impact in this win. Bask in it folks (while you can), we're only 1 game behind the brewers!

jmarinara said...


SantoGold said...

The Bucs are back Baby!!!!

Adam said...

Said it before and I'll say it again: the bats are competitive. Maybe not good enough to win more the 75 games, but good enough to win when the pitching doesn't go in the tank.

Much better at-bats last night. Looked more like the first two games in Houston than the beat downs from the Brewers.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

It's more "Have a small snack sometimes, then go back to starving" than it is "feast or famine".

But once again: quality start = win. Too bad there aren't many quality starts.....

Unknown said...

it's more like "breadcrumb or famine"

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Where's the person who made the smart ass comment when I said yesterday that the team can compete when it gets a quality start?

It's a fact. When the hitters are at the plate in a situation where some horrendous performance by the starter has put them down by 10 runs by the 4th inning, they can scratch, claw, and compete.

They got a quality start yesterday, they won, they got one today, and it's tied at 4 in the 9th as I tie this.

Whether they'll win today or not, who knows... But with just competent major league caliber starting pitching, the Pirates can at least make games interesting.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

And before I get accused of drinking Nutting's Kool Aid by someone, let me clarify what I mean by what I've been saying the past 2 days.

The Pirates are by no means a very good baseball team. But HORRENDOUS breakdowns in one phase of the game (starting pitching) have made everyone else on the team look much worse than they really are.

Adam said...


The approaches are infinitely better when they're not pressing and down 15 runs.

Now the problem is getting that pitching...just gotta hang on one more month.

BURGH08 said...

They have a chance to compete when they have a quality start is like saying they have a chance to compete when they score more than six runs a game. Even bad teams can win 60 games a year.

It also helps that Trevor Hoffman looks to finally hit the wall. Glad it was last night, especially after Fielder stomped around the bases.

I wish Capps was back here to drill him.