What a way for the Pirates to bounce back after Friday’s tough loss. Jeff Karstens took the hill for the Bucs, and was in control all game. He tossed seven shutout innings before being pulled with an apparent groin injury.
The first four innings flew by. Not much happened on the offense side of things. Pedro doubled off of Shaun Marcum, and but after the next batter walked, he was picked off of second by the catcher. Not that they were guaranteed a run with two outs, but getting picked off of second is just plain embarrassing. Both Karstens and Marcum pitched well through four, and were getting a bunch of flyouts and groundouts.
Former Bucco Aramis Ramirez led off the fifth with a double, but Karstens got two strikeouts and a groundout to keep Ramirez at second, and keep the game scoreless. That’s when the Pirates got some runs. Neil Walker reached on a dropped flyout, and Michael McKenry doubled him in. After a strikeout, Karstens helped his own cause with an RBI-knock, followed by a Jose Tabata RBI-double. Travis Snider kept the two-out magic alive with another RBI, which made it 4-0. Cutch reached on another error, which put runners on the corners. He then got thrown out trying to steal second, which is just plain stupid. First of all, Garrett Jones was up and is the Pirates best hitter in August. Second, CUTCH IS NOT A GOOD BASE-STEALER.
There were some defensive moves the next inning, as Tabata left with a groin injury. In the eighth, Karstens gave up to straight singles to start the inning, which is when he left the game with his own groin injury. There’s no word on Tabata or Karstens, but both have been producing and any significant time without them could really hurt. Tony Watson replaced Jeff, and faced the lefty Norichika Aoki. He got him to ground into a force out, which brought in Jason Grilli. He blew Rickie Weeks away on three pitches, and got Ryan Braun to ground-out to end the inning.
Despite being up by four, Clint Hurdle went to Joel Hanrahan to close out the game in the ninth. After a leadoff single, he got two outs. He then gave up a walk and another single to load the bases, and bring up Nyjer Morgan as the tying-run. Morgan and Hanrahan were actually traded for each other a few years ago between the Nationals and Pirates. With the count at 1-1, Hammer threw three straight sliders, and got Nyjer to strike-out swinging to end the game.
This type of win is what the Bucs need to go on a tear. There’s no better time for a hot streak to come, with the Cardinals coming into town on Monday.
Pirates (68-58) – Brewers (58-67)
Win: Karstens (5-3)
Loss: Marcum (5-4)