Game 20: Bucs Win Again in the 9th

I will admit I had all but given up. My headline a few minutes ago read ‘Late Brewer Homers are the Difference.’ I was putting the finishing touches on my sometimes insightful, always poignant commentary. I was ready to click on the ‘publish’ button. All Milwaukee needed was another three outs. They came, but after a few too many Buccos crossed the plate. The losing streak is over. Hooray!

It looked good early on. Jeff Karstens, freshly recalled from AAA Indy tossed 6-2/3 and only allowed two earned runs. The last of those was a game tying homer from George Kottaras in the 7th. Jeff Clement had broken a one-one tie with his own solo homer in the fourth and the Pirates were actually holding a lead for multiple innings for the first time in seemingly forever. Then Kottaras turned on one. The following inning Prince Fielder did the same thing. Karstens was out in favor of Javier Lopez. So, Milwaukee headed to the 9th with a 3-2 lead and a dormant offense at the bat. Trevor Hoffman was coming in.

And I had given up. A bit too early.

Ronny Cedeno lead off with a game tying homer. “Great,” my wife said turning off the lights and heading up the stairs. “Have fun being up until midnight.” But Adam LaRoche singled – his fourth hit of the night – one out later. Lastings Milledge doubled him to third. Garrett Jones was given the IBB to load the bases and set up the double play. But Ryan Doumit ripped a homer – a grand slam. And the Pirates were up 7-3.

D.J. Carrasco pitched a scoreless 9th to shut the door. Mark it down: Bucs win. Brendan Donnelley – who relieved Lopez and retired the only hitter he faced – got the win. Hoffman takes the loss. Brewers starter Randy Wolf gave up two runs on 10 hits over eight innings. He whiffed four and walked one.

The Good
A win!

I don’t believe that Ted Williams or his descendents are concerned, but LaRoche’s average is .400.

Scoring runs.

Getting good starting pitching.

Doumit and Clement each had three hits. Each missed a cycle by a triple.

The Bad
Blowing the lead and then nearly the game.

The Rest
This was Karstens first start and first appearance since 10/4/09 when he was hung with a loss against the Reds. The last time a Bucs starter pitched into the seventh and gave up two or fewer runs was Paul Maholm on 4/18/10. Not coincidentally, that was the date of the last Pirates victory.

This is the third time that LaRoche had four straight multi-hit games in his career.

Bucs had not scored more than six runs in a game since Opening Day. This was also the first time the Pirates had three homers in a game since Opening Day.

This was Doumit’s second career grand slam. His first was 4/11/09. The three runners he drove in last year (Freddy Sanchez, Eric Hinske and Nate McLouth) are not on this year’s club.

Coming into the night’s contest, Fielder had 14 career homers against Pittsburgh, representing the fewest he had against any NL Central foe.

Clement had three hits for just the second time in his career. First one was 8-18-08 against the White Sox when he was still on the Mariners.

Analysis

  • Yep, that should be ‘Andy’ and not ‘Adam’. Obviously. Not sure how many times I’ve typed Adam and had to change it to Andy after perusing through the post before hitting ‘publish’. I missed it this time.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention and hopefully LaRoche will keep hitting.

  • Did you say “Adam” LaRoche? Andy is en fuego. I don’t remember ever seeing a player hit the ball as hard for as many games as he has. I was at that Giant game when he hit the HR and I could not believe where that ball went on a line drive. If he starts getting some backspin and loft on his stroke, watch out!

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