Game #69 vs. White Sox

PNC Park | 1:35 | Duke vs. Javier Vazquez | Box

Jason Bay might’ve saved Jose Castillo’s starting job.
The Pirates were ahead, 8-5, entering the top of the ninth. Then this happened:

Capps pitching. Fields singled to left. Uribe flied out to center fielder McLouth. Cintron pinch-hitting for Hall. Cintron safe on Castillo’s error, Fields to third. Pierzynski pinch-hitting for Thornton. Pierzynski singled to center, Fields scored, Cintron to third. Thome pinch-hitting for A.Gonzalez. Thome hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Bay, Cintron scored, Pierzynski to second. Iguchi flied out to right fielder Nady.

Jose tried to go to his backhand on Cintron’s grounder and ended up booting the ball. After Pierzynski drove in Fields—shrinking the Pirates’ lead to two—it seemed as if we were in danger of suffering another crushing defeat.
Jim Thome came to the plate with two runners on and launched a ball to deep left. Jason Bay retreated to the track, stuck his glove out over the short fence and robbed the slugger of his 481st career home run. Matt Capps forced Tadahito Iguchi to hit a lazy fly to right, and the Jolly Roger was raised.
Now, Castillo still didn’t have a great game—or a solid series, really. But if the Bucs had lost this one, his error would’ve stick out like a sore thumb. As is, though, it’s just another play in a wild game.
The Pirates were up, 3-0, before the Sox put up a five spot in the fourth. The Bucs answered back in the home half of the inning with two more runs to tie up the score. Pittsburgh then plated three runs off Chicago’s bullpen—just enough to pull out an 8-7 win.
There was a lot of see-sawing, thanks in large part to another shaky outing from Zach Duke. The bats came alive, as Bautista, McLouth, Nady and Wilson all contributed two-hit games. Nate chipped in four RBI on two, two-out doubles. Seven of the eight Pirate runs were scored after two outs.
We’ll take another look at the Pirate personnel tomorrow, but let’s revel in a win for the rest of today. The Bucs went 4-2 on the homestand, taking both series. As Meatloaf said, two out of three ain’t bad.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pre-game Thoughts
The White Sox have been notoriously bad against left-handed pitching in 2007. Like Paul Maholm, Zach Duke is a southpaw. Advantage: Pirates.
The Pirates have been notoriously bad against pitching in 2007. Like 68 starters before him, Javier Vazquez is a pitcher. Advantage: White Sox.
Something’s gotta give.
His last time out, Duke threw six innings of two-run ball against Texas. Vazquez is coming off an outing where he lost to the Phillies, 3-0, on three long balls. The Pirates aren’t much for hitting home runs, so Javy shouldn’t worry too much on that front.
In any case, I’m predicting a low scoring affair. Usually when I do that, the final’s in the neighborhood of 6-5 or 10-9. Take that for what it’s worth.
I’ll be keeping an eye on the starting lineup—how are Duffy, Nady and Sanchez feeling, is Doumit catching the day game after a night game, who’s winning the Celebrity Deathmatch between Castillo and Wilson, and so on.
Happy Father’s Day.

Author: Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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