If the Pirates are able to edge close to a .500 season (oh what sweet dream), we will look back on this game as one that got away. I’d like to say that this was a pitcher’s duel. The box score won’t say that it was. I’d also like to say that the Pirates won this one. The box score won’t say that, either. Instead, five innings of hitless baseball were chucked by Kevin Correia with only a loss to show for it. Shaun Marcum matched him in those early frames an ultimately prevailed after Milwaukee scored four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Correia walked Rickie Weeks to open the game and then set down the next twelve Beer men in succession. He walked Casey McGehee leading off the fifth. But he was caught stealing and through five innings, Correia had faced just one over the minimum and allowed no knocks. Shaun Marcum had a perfect game through four innings. He gave up consecutive singles to Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz to start the fifth but retired Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Doumit and Ronny Cedeno without further incident.
Correia’s no-no was busted up by a lead off double from Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Marcum attempted to bunt him over, but reached base and was credited with the second Brewer hit of the night and of the frame. One out later, Carlos Gomez delivered a sac fly for the first tally. After Ryan Braun singled, Prince Fielder struck the big blow with a three run blast to centerfield.
Milwaukee put up two more notches in the seventh. Mark Kotsay reached on a miscue from Alvarez. Pinch runner Nyjer Morgan scored on a double from Yuniesky Betancourt, chasing Correia from the game. Betancourt moved to third on the throw home that was unable to nail Morgan. Michael Crotta was on and gave up an RBI grounder to Marcum.
The Bucs had two on in the seventh (against Marcum) and again in the eighth (with reliever Zach Braddock starting the inning and Kameron Loe relieving him). But they couldn’t get a clutch hit to score a run.
Marcum allowed four singles and a walk in seven shutout innings. He struck out four. Correia pitched better than the box score will say. Four of the six runs he allowed were earned. He went six plus and gave up five hits and two walks. Chris Resop and Evan Meek each tossed a perfect inning of mop up duty.
Correia was strong again. Hopefully he’ll get some support.
Matt Diaz had two of the four hits.
Pirates fall below .500 on the year.
Only seven Pirates reached base.
This was Marcum’s first career appearance against the Pirates and none of the Pirates in the starting lineup had faced him while he was with Toronto.
Fielder came into the game with a .176 batting average against the current Pirates pitching staff. He has 22 dingers against Pirate pitching in his career, the most he has against any team.
Pittsburgh has had three players named Diaz play for them. In addition to Matt, there was Robinzon Diaz and Mike Diaz, also known as Rambo. Mike Diaz hit what I like to think of as a franchise shifting homer on 4/20/1987. The Pirates in 1986 were awful. The eventual World Series champion Mets beat them 17 times in 18 games. 1987 opened with consecutive losses to New York in Shea. On April 20th they met for the first time in Pittsburgh. Diaz broke a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the seventh with a three run, two out pinch hit homer off of Dirty Doug Sisk. It was almost as if the franchise waived a giant middle finger at the Mets and gave notice that they weren’t going to roll over again in 1987. It would take the Pirates 1987 plus two more years to win the division, but the club would go onto a 16 game improvement over 1986 and finish at 80-82.