Friday, May 04, 2007

Pirates defeat first-place Brewers

Dave Bush plays in the dirt after allowing a home run to Jose Bautista last night in Milwaukee

It was just another day in Piratesville. Brewers pitcher Dave Bush, entering the game with an ERA over 6, had limited the Pirates to zero runs on two hits through six innings. The Brewers led 2-0. Their first run scored when a chopper barely eluded a diving Pirate infielder. Their second scored on a wild pitch. As a bonus, the Bucs had wasted a lead off double in the 4th inning, as the 3-4-5 hitters were retired in order. Tom Gorzelanny had been sharp, but his offense was letting him down. We were well on our way to a typical Pirate game.

But something was different about this game. The Pirates defense had been superb, throwing out two Brewers at home thus far. This kept the game within reach, even for the anemic Pirate offense. If the hitters could only figure out Dave Bush...

Freddy Sanchez led off the 7th inning with a double. After seeing Jack Wilson left stranded after leading off the 4th with a two-bagger, Pirate fans kept all enthusiasm under control. Jason Bay followed with a pop fly to right, but it found an open area and Bay ended up at second with an RBI double. Two outs later, he was still standing there, as Jose Bautista came to the plate. The Pirates desperately needed something to jump-start their offense. With a 1-1 count, Bautista jumped on Bush's offering. It was gone as soon as it struck Bautista's bat. Kevin Mench was helpless in left field, and could only watch as the baseball sailed well over the fence. Suddenly, the Pirates had taken a 3-2 lead. Bautista's blast invigorated Ronny Paulino, who launched the second pitch he saw towards right-center. It also carried over the outfield wall, giving the Bucs a 4-2 lead. Gorzelanny and the bullpen made that score hold up through the 9th inning, and the Pirates beat the Milwaukee Brewers.

  • The Pirates' defense was excellent in this game. They retired three Brewers on the bases, and Gorzelanny's play on Tony Gwynn's bunt attempt in the 7th was absolutely fantastic. The Bucs must play defense like this more consistently if they want to win in 2007.
  • What the heck were the Brewers doing on the bases in this game?? Pulling the double steal with Bill Hall at the plate in the 3rd was ludicrous. I was totally shocked at the stupidity of that play. And the Dave Bush "sacrifice bunt/hit-and-run/let Graffanino wander around the bases" play in the 5th did not work well either.
  • That was a huge home run by Bautista. It was the type of hit that could give the Pirates' offense some confidence and suddenly get them going. Or maybe we'll get shut out tonight. What do I know?
  • Ryan Doumit is on fire. Literally.
  • Hopefully the day out of the lineup gets Adam LaRoche on track.
  • Well, Jim Tracy made a good decision when he kept Gorzelanny in the rotation coming out of spring training. That kid has been tremendous this season.
  • Look at Matt Capps' 2007 stats. Here's a few for you to chew on: ERA is 0.59; OPS against is .392; WHIP is 0.717. And his own OPS+ is currently 435. He has been amazing.

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