If you missed tonight’s game against the Phillies, consider yourself lucky. It was probably the worst game of 2012, and was reminiscent of the horrible 2010 season. Jeff Karstens made his return to the team and made his first start since April 17, but it wasn’t a great welcome back.
Neil Walker had a chance to get the Pirates on the board in the first with two on and two outs, but grounded out. Things were ugly for Karstens (no pun intended) from the start. Jimmy Rollins got to third after doubling and being sacrificed over, and scored on a bloop single by Hunter Pence, that looked to be catchable by Jose Tabata. As Rollins slid into home, Rod Barajas‘ leg got twisted around, and he left the game the next inning. The next play was by far one of the ugliest plays you’ll ever see in a professional baseball game. Carlos Ruiz singled to RF, and the throw went into third base. Jose’s throw either should have been cut off or Pedro should have come out to block it, but instead it short-hoped and flew past third. Pedro fired to second base, and his throw sailed into right, allowing Ruiz to get all the way to third. Shane Victorino had an RBI single, and so did Placido Polanco. Tabata’s throw home to try to cut down Victorino flew past Barajas, and he was charged with his second error of the inning.
Jose redeemed himself slightly with a solo shot in the third, and Karstens seemed to settle down. It wouldn’t stay that way, though, and Polanco made it 5-1 with another RBI single. Clint Barmes drove in Walker after a leadoff double to make it 5-2 in the fourth, and it looked like the Bucs still had a chance to come back – especially against the struggling Joe Blanton. Rollins quickly put an end to any thought of a comeback with a two-run upper-decker, and the Phillies went up 7-2.
Andrew McCutchen drove in a run, but it was pretty irrelevant. Karstens was at least able to get through the sixth to save the bullpen. Doug Slaten was the first reliever out, and after pitching a scoreless seventh, walked in a run in the eighth. With the bases still loaded and no outs, he was somehow able to strike out the next three guys and work out of the inning with one run given up. Jared Hughes pitched a 1-2-3 mop-up inning, which was nice to see.
Overall a pretty ugly game, but there’s always tomorrow. And as Pirates blogger RumBunter points out, these games don’t happen as often as they used to.
Remember when this used to happen nightly #Pirates—
(@rumbunter) June 26, 2012
Anyway, the Reds won, and same with the Cardinals (who came back from a 6-2 deficit.) The Pirates are now two back of first, tied for second, and in a four-way tie for the second wildcard spot. Gotta bounce back tomorrow.
Pirates (38-34) – Phillies (35-40)
Win: Blanton (7-6)
Loss: Karstens (0-2)