Schumakers PH Dinger Keys Card Comeback, Sweep

Matt Capps entered early – with one out in the 8th – and promptly lost the game. He allowed a pinch hit homer to the first batter he faced – Skip Schumaker – as St. Louis scored five runs in the 8th to win 7-3 and sweep the series.

Zach Duke had pitched effectively for the first 7-1/3 inning. After hitting for himself in the bottom of the 7th, Duke was pulled one out and one on in the 8th. After Capps gave up the go ahead dinger, he plunked Albert Pujols and was ejected from the game. Pujols was visibly angry and in some pain as the result of taking one off his torso. Jesse Chavez relieved and threw some gas on the fire as St. Louis scored three more times.

The Pirates collected seven hits in the 2nd and 3rd innings combined to take a 3-0 lead off of Joel Pineiro. The big blow was a two run homer from Steve Pearce in the second. But Pineiro settled in and pitched seven innings. The Pirates would get just two more hits off him after the third – both by Ramon Vazquez.

The Pirates put two on with no one out in the 8th off the St. Louis bullpen, but could not draw closer.

Duke went 7-1/3 and gave up two earned runs to get the no decision. Capps was the loser. Pineiro won and Kyle McClellan retired the final five hitters for a long save.

The Good

Duke was good again. One of these games, he’ll get some run support.

Vazquez, Lastings Milledge and Delwyn Young each had two hits.

In the 4th Jason Jaramillo’s snap throw to first picked off Bengie Molina to end the inning.

The Bad

The bullpen.

The Pirates drew no walks.

The defense faltered. Each of St. Louis first two runs came on errant pick off attempts. Duke tossed one into left in the fourth inning. That allowed Julio Lugo to move to third and he scored on a sac fly. In the 7th, Duke picked off Matt Holliday, who broke for second. But Pearce’s throw went into left field. Holliday went to third as a very weak throw from Milledge – and I was surprised at how bad a throw it was – was late. He also scored on a sacrifice fly.

Bucs hit into three double plays.

The Rest

Tony LaRussa will pick a spot to retaliate against the Pirates for Pujols getting plunked. The Cards are back in town in early September. The question is who does he hit? Andrew McCutchen is liable to steal. Garrett Jones isn’t a big enough name. That would leave either Ryan Doumit or Lastings Milledge.

Pineiro came into the game with a 5.66 ERA against Pittsburgh. He picked up his 10th win of the season. This is the first time he hit double digits in wins since 2003.

Bizarre jersey of the weekend winner was a teenage guy wearing a ketchup Jeff Andrews jersey. Didn’t see that one coming at all. I figured that he must’ve won it as part of some promotional give away. I can’t imagine someone buying it. On the St. Louis side, someone had a Fernando Tatis jersey. I also saw someone wearing a Pat Neshek jersey t-shirt. But that doesn’t count because the Tigers weren’t in town. Plus he hasn’t pitched in over a year.

On the discount rack in the clubhouse store were an array of Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson and Adam LaRoche jersey t-shirts. Also some Zach Duke ketchup jersey tees. If the very poorly run Pirates marketing department would make jersey tees for the 1970s era Pirates (and even some guys from the 1980s), there would be another benefit, as my brother noted: they’d never have to discount the shirts as the result of a trade.  

I’m often critical of the Pirates marketing department, but I have to praise them for the free spin on the prize wheel promo. It isn’t too often that teams give something away for free. It’d be a good deal if it cost $1. But out of the four spins between my brother and I over the weekend, we collected two bobble heads and a hat (plus a coupon for discount tickets, which I pitched).

A new casino opened in Pittsburgh at noon. Attendance was 24,000 – not too shabby.


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Randy Linville

Thanks for the question, Tim. Rightly or wrongly, Milledge is perceived as a head case by the media and perhaps by the vast majority of fans. The Pirates of recent vintage have considered signing or trading for players with shaky track records (Milton Bradley comes to mind), but have never done so. I find this trade as an interesting about face on that front. Long term, I can’t imagine this deal looking badly for Pittsburgh. As Francie noted above, I think we have seen what Nyjer Morgan can do. He might be a serviceable Big Leaguer. Might be. Milledge has expectations of being a star some day. Given Milledge’s experience in the Show and his age, the outlook is positive.
I also agree with Francie about Hanrahan. Right now it is far from a sure thing when he comes in. But given that he whiffs so many guys, the potential to be a valuable part of a good team is there. I’m hopeful that Joe Kerrigan can help him put it together.


Honstely at first I was shocked and then frustated at the trade. I’m one of the few die hard fans that took to Morgan last season when he filled in for the DLed Nady. I liked his “go get’em” attitude then. And after reading a story from a local newspaper writer about Morgan’s new found work ethic in both Indy. and Pittsburgh, I became a fan. I know many around the Burgh didn’t think he belonged on the team that came north or for that matter, staying on as an every day player after his dismal spring and start to the season. But he is a scrappy player who wears tall socks and ya got to love that!
But in regard to the trade, I tend to agree w/ many of the Pirate bloggers. Yes Morgan is good but he is aging and I feel he has hit his limit. I don’t see him becoming better next year. I actually see him declining. He’s been caught stealing alot his season and frankly, his bat can be a bit shakey – flying out and strking out alot.
I do like milledge, even w/ his shaky defense. He is young and if he allows himself to be teachable, we are in for a real treat in left field. Right now, I think he’s still learning how to play left field at PNC Park – w/ the notch, he must learn how to cover it better. I’ve seen him in BP and he seems to be really responding to the coaching staff’s direction in regard to fielding, catching, and throwing better. I like his bat. He’s not hit for power yet, but he sure is hitting line drives rather well and he too has some speed to him. Were as Morgan really doesn’t have power nor does he have too much control of his speed. Many times, we was called out or caught stealing cuz he over slide or ran the bases. It appears that Milledge generinely desires for a new start and has been recieved greatly by the fans in Pittsburgh. I was sitting by the dugout Thursday night where players come to sign autographs before the game. And Milledge was swarmed by young and old fans alike desiring to see and speak to him.
Now the Hanrahan part of the deal. . . that’s not looking as good at what the Nats got in Burnett. Although, Burnett, for most of the season, wasn’t too reliable. He walked many batters and gave up his fair share of blown leads. I really didn’t like seeing him come out of the bullpen — and he can’t seem to wear his hat straight on his head either! But from what I’ve seen of Joel Hanrahan, he too is consistantly inconsistant. But again, I think giving a full winter and spring training w/ Joe Kerrigan and he will turn out to be a great asset — just as many of our pitchers have become after their face time w/ Kerrigan. I like our pitching coach and believe, just as the front office does, that he is a good teacher and can really be a great help to our young pitching staff. The here too is making sure Joel is teachable and willing to put the work into what Kerrigan is asking him to do. We’ve seen great success from Duke, Chavez, Paul, and others in our pitching staff when they take the challenge and instruction Kerrigan gives them. I think we have to wait until next season to grade the pitching swaps in that trade.
Just my thoughts – thanks for letting me share.

Tim in DC

I am looking for some feedback from Pirates fans regarding the Milledge/Morgan trade last month. If anyone is interested, here is a Washington Post article about Morgan:
Morgan has taken this city by storm and has been credited with infusing some much needed energy into the clubhouse.
In reading the Post article, I got the sense that Milledge was having the fingers of the interim manager and interim GM (hows THAT for instability?) pointed directly at him. One would have to had been watching the team from April to see understand this.
What is the sense of the Pirate fans regarding not only the trade, but of Milledge?
BTW, you folks have the BEST ballpark out there. Nats Park is OK, but kinda bland.

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