Game 72: Vlad’s 9th Inning Heroics Cap Comeback

The Pirates offense got off to a quick start. The bullpen ended the game on a low note. The end result was a loss for the Pirates and the eleventh straight win for Texas.

The Pirates used four hits and a walk in the first inning off of Scott Feldman to build a 4-0 lead. The big blow was a two out, two run double by Pedro Alvarez. Pittsburgh added another run in the fourth on a sac fly from Neil Walker. But Texas chipped away and stayed close. Justin Smoak’s second inning grounder scored Vladimir Guerrero, who had reached on an error from Bobby Crosby. In the home half of the fourth, Nelson Cruz and Smoak drove in runs with sac flies to make it 5-3.

Pirates starter Jeff Karstens was relieved after 5-1/3 innings of work. He allowed those first three runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five. Feldman gave up 12 hits in six plus and allowed five runs. He struck out seven. He left the game after Jose Tabata reached on a bunt single to start the seventh. But Walker followed with a double play grounder when Darren Oliver relieved.

Evan Meek got hit for two runs to tie the game in the seventh. Michael Young, who had whiffed three times earlier in the game, tripled home Elvis Andrus and then scored on Ian Kinsler’s single to knot it at 5 a piece.

Frank Francisco allowed a pair of two out hits in the 9th, but escaped without damage. The Rangers broke through in their half of the 9th against Steven Jackson. Andrus walked and Young singled befor Guerrero’s two out hit scored Andrus with the winning run.

Francisco was the winner. Jackson took the loss.

The Good
Buc bats got going.

Tabata and Garrett Jones each had three hits. Crosby, despite the error, continues to make the case for playing time with his bat with two more hits.

The Bad
Just not quite enough offense to win it.

Unearned run on Crosby’s error.

Pirates lost four runners on the bases courtesy of two double plays and two caught stealing.
The Rest
Josh Hamilton extended his hitting streak with three hits. Prior to this series, Hamilton was just 3-24 against the Pirates in his lifetime (all from 2007 when he was with Cincy) with six whiffs.

Prior to this series, Guerrero had faced Pirate pitching just once since 2004.

The top five hitters in the Texas lineup had 11 of their 12 hits.

Meek had not allowed an earned run since May 23rd.

This was Karstens first appearance against Texas. Feldman relieved against Pittsburgh in a 2007 game. This was his first start against the Buccos.

Analysis
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