Traveling to the west coast after a Wednesday day game, I figured the Pirates would be sluggish. But the pitching staff turned in the best performance of the year and two early runs held up. Bucs win.
LA starter Clayton Kershaw walked the first two hitters he faced in the first. Then he got the next two out. Ryan Doumit hit a liner to center that Matt Kemp tried to play on a short hop. He missed. The ball got passed him. Both runners scored and Doumit had a triple. Those were the only runs of the game.
Kershaw settled in and allowed just two more hits and two more walks in 6-1/3 innings. He struck out seven. Brian Burres was equal to the task of keeping the Dodgers off the board. He allowed four singles and four walks in 5-1/3 innings. He got out of a second and third and one out jam in the third by whiffing Casey Blake and getting Jamey Carroll on an infield grounder. In the fifth, he stranded Blake DeWitt after a lead off double.
After walking two with one out in the sixth, he gave way to Jack Taschner. The Bucco reliever tossed 2-1/3 innings of no hit baseball and didn’t allow a ball out of the infield. Evan Meek was called on in the 9th and recorded his first career save.
Three straight wins.
Have to like only using three pitchers.
Offense sputtered to the tune of five hits – two from Doumit. But it was enough.
Lastings Milledge hit lead off for the first time during his tenure in Pittsburgh. He hit leadoff five times in 2009 for Washington prior to the trade that brought him to the Steel City.
This was Burres’ first win since 7-11-08 when he beat Boston while toiling for Baltimore.
This was Doumit’s first triple since 8-11-07 off of Tim Lincecum. He has four career triples and the Pirates are 4-0 in those games. He also singled and stole a base – his first swipe of the year. He has not been caught stealing since 8-12-08 when Paul Bako of the Reds threw him out.
Meek rarely finished wins for the Pirates in 2009. He finished 14 games overall and the Pirates won four of them. In three of the wins, the Pirates were up by five or more runs. In the other instance, Meek was the winner of 2-1 game that went 14. Here’s hoping he has more chances to pitch under pressure in 2010.